During our monthly Shepherd Meetings, Shepherd support groups take turns and have a member share a funny anecdote about house church ministry. Last month, a shepherd’s wife told the following story:
She has a 5-year-old son. One day he came across a picture with me (Pastor Chai) in it. He exclaimed. “I know him!”
She asked him, “Who is he?” expecting him to say “Our pastor!”
Instead, he answered, “He’s the man who was in the bathtub with grandma!” Huh??? It turns out that he recognized me from a picture where I was baptizing his grandmother. All the shepherds and their spouses roared in laughter when they heard this story.
We ask someone to tell a funny story during the monthly shepherds’ meetings because Christians must learn how to laugh. The Christian author Warren Wiersby writes in his book “On Being The Servant Of God” about asking Noel Lyon, then the director of the European Mission Society, “What is the most important thing you look for in missionary candidates?”
Without hesitation, Lyon answered, “A sense of humor. Without it they cannot succeed in their mission work no matter how dedicated or talented they are.”
Humor is not about putting down or ridiculing other people. A sense of humor is the ability to laugh at shortcomings or mistakes, including one’s own. C.S. Lewis wrote that Satan can imitate everything God does, except laughter. He is so proud and self-occupied that he has absolutely no sense of humor.
We can laugh about our shortcomings only when we believe that God has accepted and loves us as we are. We can laugh in dire situations only when we believe that God is in a total control of the situation. Humor is an expression of our confidence in God.
When children go to an amusement park and ride a roller coaster, they laugh even when they are suspended upside down, because they know they are safe. You will never laugh in a truly dangerous situation when you are unsure of your safety.
When I see Christians who are too serious all the time, or Christian workers who are too tense, I worry that they may be exhausted or burn out at any time. Christians should be relaxed and smile a lot. We have the ability to do that because God, who loves us, is in total control of our lives. He protects and guides us. Humor is a natural expression of such faith.
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