I Hope you Enjoy Your Boring Train

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One of my mentors growing up made a drastic change in his life. He used to be a guy that people loved to be around…one of those people that laughed and joked and had a great time. He was infectious.

Then one day something happened.

He got on the boring train.

He began equating “holiness” with “seriousness.” No longer did he have time to joke around. Life’s too short for that. If you’re going to be holy, you’ve got to be serious and focused and intense. Truly holy people didn’t have time to joke around, because there are more important things to do.

Boring train…all aboard!

photo credit: Creation Swap user Chris Powell

The Boring Train is Empty

I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but this whole thing really rubbed me the wrong way. Mainly because I no longer enjoyed being around him…and apparently none of our group did, either. Instead of being a bridge over troubled waters, he created troubled waters and burned the bridge.

I’d love to say that my uneasy feelings were motivated by a deep desire to honor God, rooted in the Truth found in the Scriptures. But I was more pragmatic. He made me feel creepy. Ever said a joke to a guy and had them just stare right back at you, stone-faced? Not a great experience.

Laughter & a Good God

As I spent more and more time in Scripture, I realized that my creeper radar going off pretty strongly in my head growing up actually had some roots in Scripture. Check out what the Psalmist said:

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:2-3

I don’t know if you fully caught that. Did you see the response from the nations? When they heard the people’s mouths filled with laughter and their tongues singing songs of joy, they said, “They must serve a great God!” Laughter and joy became attractional for the church. Outsiders began to notice the community of God-followers because they were laughing. Not handing out tracts. Not going door-to-door and inviting people to Sunday morning. Not because of a billboard. But because of laughter. Laughter pointed to the greater reality that God was good.

Want to be sensitive to seekers? Laugh a little.

Want to show people that we serve a good God? Laugh a little.

Want to make much of the grace of God? Laugh a little.

Want to show people that holiness isn’t boringness? Laugh a little.

Want to live in a way that shows people how great God is? Laugh a little.

To those of you who think that holiness and boringness should go together: enjoy riding the boring train.

Get it? Enjoy riding…oh, never mind.


Have you ever equated holiness with seriousness? Ever thought that laughing could honor God?


* Photo credit, Creation Swap user Chris Powell




Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://twitter.com/RonEdmondson Ron Edmondson

    This is a great post Ben. Holiness doesn’t have to be boring.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks Ron. You model this principle in a great way.

  • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

    I’ve always been pretty serious – just ask my parents.

    I think holiness is more reverent than serious.  Holiness is about being like Jesus.  I’m pretty sure he laughed and had a sense of humor.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      No doubt Jesus laughed a lot! I can only imagine that his time around 12 other guys was filled with laughter.

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    the boring train.  nice phrase!

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      You can have the phrase Rob. Claim it as your own. I’m already catching some heat from guys making fun of me for using it. It’s all you now!

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    I went through a season where I thought holiness meant being serious all the time, but I couldn’t keep up with it. I joke around a lot. It’s just who I am. When I decided to be who God created me to be, I found I could be fun and holy. Amazing.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Me too, Jason. I couldn’t stand not joking around!

  • http://www.everythingpastor.com Nick Farr

    I used to feel like I had to be serious to be holy. I guess I got that idea from Bible College and all the professors that I identified as “holy.” What really changed my mind was a DVD series on the book of Matthew in which an actor named Bruce Marchiano. In his book about preparing for the role, he talked about how he tried to see the joy and love in everything Jesus said. My friends called him “smiling Jesus.” 

    Thanks for this post! It’s a good reminder that you can advance in holiness and still be fun.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Good stuff, I like it, Nick!