Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Genesis 18:13
Many of my recent posts have covered serous topics that affect our world, culture and the next generation. Scripture is full of human emotions, but we often don’t emphasize laughter and joy. Even Sarah and Abraham got the joke when she got pregnant at age 90.
But life isn’t all serious all of the time. I identify with the picture above, because I have a lot of socks that are colorful and made by a company called “Happysocks”.
I was delighted to find out they actually have stores where they have a huge selection to choose from. I wear them to church, and people come up to me so see what I have on that day. The colorful socks make a quiet statement that I am not all that serious.
When it comes to humor, I have always wondered where the name funny bone originated. For one thing, it is not a bone, but something called the ulnar nerve in your elbow. For another, if you are unfortunate enough to strike that nerve, it is anything but funny. It can be very painful.
In this day and time, when the pandemic has so affected our daily lives and routines, it is hard to maintain a sense of humor. There is a lot of humor in the bible, but much of it is obscured by cultural subtleties and the Hebrew language which don’t translate well.
Mark Biddle wrote a book several years back called A Time to Laugh: Humor in the Bible which takes a look at six bible characters who did unexpected things. His book breaks through the language and cultural distinctives to show readers how they can actually “get the joke”.
But we don’t need to look at bible humor to get a laugh. I believe people need to lighten up and not lose their sense of humor, even when things get difficult. I interact regularly with people around the world who live in much more difficult life circumstances than I do. I make a point to try and get them to laugh, even if it is at my own expense.
On a Zoom call with my friend Sam Sundersingh in Chennai, India, a couple of weeks ago, I asked how he was doing. He said he was suffering from tennis elbow. Now, I know Sam well enough to know that he doesn’t play tennis, so I replied: “Stop playing tennis!”. Sam wrote back “I love your sense of humor.” I made him smile, which made me smile.
There used to be a section in the magazine Reader’s Digest titled “Laughter is the Best Medicine”. It contained humorous stories – many of them true. They still have a section devoted to funny and humor.
I always loved to read their jokes and stories, and am a firm believer that laughter is good medicine for almost every occasion. Our family get-togethers with kids and grandkids are full of laughter. It makes life go a lot better. Certainly more fun.
Some of my humor is self-directed at stupid things I’ve done or said or because I forgot something. My wife is a great list maker so she can mark off things and not let them slip through the cracks. She actually volunteered to keep a list of things to do for me when I retired. I declined, of course.
Recently, we went together to the grocery store. Instead of bringing a list, she turned to me and said we only need to get two things, so “help me remember to get item A and B”. “No problem”, I responded. We got to the grocery store, and quickly found item A and she turned to me and asked me what item B was.
I totally blanked out and couldn’t remember. We laughed at each other. The result was that we bought a lot of other things hoping we could remember, or if we didn’t remember, we might get it by accident. We still don’t remember what item B was, and that’s pretty funny to us. Humor is where you find it, even in mundane circumstances.
For the next generation, which has endured a big recession and more recently a pandemic, humor may be hard to come by. Life can be very serious at times, but it is not serious all the time. Passing on your humor to others can be infectious, even if it means just wearing Happy Socks.
Both Abraham and Sarah laughed when God told them that she would conceive, and she would be the mother of all nations. It’s a good example to all of us.
MENTOR TAKEAWAY: Life is serious enough, but easier to take with a little humor. Your mentee will appreciate it when you lighten his day.
FURTHER READING: A Time to Laugh: Humor in the Bible. Biddle
WORSHHIP: I’m Going Free (Jailbreak) -Vertical Church Band
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