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!
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