Proverbs 15:13, 15; 17:22
Rules, regulations, and statutes aren't meant to be amusing, but at times they are. Maybe it's because they are supposed to be so all-fired serious that I find some of them downright hilarious. Some examples?
A San Francisco ordinance forbids the reuse of confetti. In Danville, Pennsylvania, "fire hydrants must be checked one hour before all fires." In Seattle, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon of more than six feet in length. An Oklahoma law states that a driver of "any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in death shall immediately stop...and give his name and address to the person struck." A piece of noise-abatement legislation was passed in the village of Lakefield, Ontario, which permits birds to sing for 30 minutes during the day and 15 minutes at night.
Furthermore, we preachers are an incredibly funny lot. And when I study the faces and read about the lives and lifestyles of the pulpiteers of yesteryear, I confess I often chuckle. Many of them—deep down—were wild and crazy characters.
Such humour is not making jokes out of life; it's recognizing the ones that are there.
Now, I'm not suggesting that everybody start reading the comics or watch all those mindless sitcoms (frankly, most of them aren't even amusing) or tell a lot of silly jokes to each other. That's external, superficial, and shallow. I'm suggesting a project far more significant: developing a lighter heart that comes from a confidence in the living God, the loving Creator, the sovereign Lord who gave us humour and who smiles every time we enjoy His gift.
In the insightful words of Elton Trueblood: "The Christian is joyful, not because he is blind to injustice and suffering, but because he is convinced that these, in the light of the divine sovereignty, are never ultimate.... The humor of the Christian is not a way of denying the tears, but rather a way of affirming something which is deeper than tears."¹
Yes, a few things in life are absolutely tragic, no question about it. First among them, a joyless Christian.
A truly cheerful face comes from a joyful heart, not from a lack of concern for life's tragedies.
1. Elton Trueblood, The Humor of Christ (New York: Harper and Row, 1964).
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.