Laugh it is a sign of maturity! SERIOUSLY.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22).
I used this as our weekly verse at my Church Sunday and some wondered why it is important to laugh. A simple answer would be because God said so. I have loved life and have for as long as I can remember laughed a lot. If you visit our church you will hear humor a great deal during the service and I make it a part of most of my messages.
After the service on Sunday we have refreshments in the lower level. Inevitably Dave and Jack, two of our senior saints are entertaining whoever will lend an ear. You can nearly lose your breath laughing at these guys. I laugh as hard at them telling the stories than the punch lines they deliver. I must admit it is as much a part of Sunday morning for many as anything we do.
Here is a sample:
Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors‑and lawyers, and prospered.
Some years later, they chatted after having dinner together. They‑discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who‑lived far away in another city. The first said, “I had a big house built for Mama.” The second said, “I had a $100,000 theater built in the‑house.” The third said, “I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her.” The fourth said, “You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you‑know‑she can’t read anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this preacher‑who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire bible. It took twenty‑preachers 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a‑year for twenty years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama just has to‑name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it.” The other‑brothers were impressed.
After the holidays Mama sent out her Thank You notes. She wrote:
“Milton, the house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I‑have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway.”
“Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay at home and I have my groceries‑delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good Thanks.”
Michael, you gave me an expensive theater with Dolby sound, it‑could‑hold‑50 people, but all of‑my friends are dead. I’ve lost my hearing and I’m nearly blind. I’ll‑never
use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same.”
“Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a‑little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious.”
Is it good to laugh?
Think about this—-A recent study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine says laughter is good for cardiovascular health. According to the School of Medicine’s website, the study included 20 non-smoking, healthy volunteers, who were shown parts of two movies “at the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum.” When watching a movie like Saving Private Ryan, researchers discovered that blood flow from the heart of the study’s participants was restricted. Just the opposite occurred when volunteers watched a comedy and experienced lots of laughter.
The study confirms previous research that mental stress actually narrows the blood vessels. But it also confirms a great biblical truth of old, which says, A merry heart doeth good like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22).
Certainly there are times to be serious in life, but God never takes pleasure in a sourpuss. The way some Christians look and act, you would think they had been given a permanent dose of Castor oil.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe is one of my favorite authors and he said a Christian foreign missions executive once told him that he would never appoint a missionary to the field if the candidate didn’t have a sense of humor. “To be able to laugh at yourself and at the world around you,” said Wiersbe, “is a mark of maturity.”
It was G.K. Chesterton who said, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly. Never forget that Satan fell by force of gravity.”
Some of the people I’ve admired the most in life knew how to laugh at themselves and their circumstances.
For example, Dr. Billy Graham says that he was once on a crowded airliner to Charlotte, when a heavy-set fellow was sitting directly in front of him who obviously had too many drinks. Intoxicated, the man filled the plane with raunchy language, was unashamedly flirting with the stewardess, and boisterously annoying everyone on the flight. Finally, one of the passengers tried to take matters in hand by asking the fellow if he knew the famous evangelist was sitting right behind him.
At that point, Graham said the bleary-eyed man struggled to his feet, turned around, looked at him and extended his hand, saying: “Billy Graham? Put ‘er there. I’m really glad to meet ya. I’m one of your converts.”
Rev. Coy Privette is a Baptist preacher from Kannapolis, North Carolina. He describes himself as countrified. He is both a powerful preacher and an astute politician.
“One day,” says Privette, “I pulled up to a gas station in a rural section of Union County.” Underneath a car on a rolling pallet was a man working on an engine. Privette says he got down on one knee, while holding some of his campaign literature and said to the man: “Hello, I’m Coy Privette. I’m running for the North Carolina House and I would appreciate your vote.” Slowly the man under the car rolled out from underneath and asked Privette a question. “What’s your name again?” asked the man. Privette said, “I’m Coy Privette. I’m running for the North Carolina House and I would appreciate your vote.” “You know what,” responded the man. “I’m going to vote for you, because anyone would be better than that Baptist preacher from over there in Kannapolis.”
In his book, Small Wonders, Rev. Harold E. Kohn writes: “While there is much terror and sordid ugliness in the world, there is also a stream of health, cascading like a clear mountain rivulet of melted snow through human experience. This stream is the flow of wholesome, spontaneous laughter — God’s gift for refreshing and renewing our souls. A life lived with little laughter is like land devoid of springs, streams, lakes, or ground water; there are some things such a life cannot grow. We cannot take ourselves seriously if we cannot occasionally take ourselves lightly. Laughter is an affirmation of God’s final triumph over the worst that can befall us.”
It was the late Pope John Paul II who said after warming up a crowd of several thousand rain-soaked young people with some jokes in the main square of Trent, Italy, “Don’t tell your colleagues, and above all the press, that the Pope made jokes instead of a serious meditation on the council … but being holy means living in profound communion with the God of joy, having a heart free from sin and from the sadness of the world.”
It’s interesting to note that the word “humor” and “humility” come from the same root of the Latin word, “humus.” In other words, to be humble means you can laugh at yourself. You know how short of the glory of God you fall. You know it’s a laugh to think you can get along in life without Him. It’s also a source of endless joy knowing God lovingly rules and reigns in the circumstances of all who put their trust in Christ.
On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus said, These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be full (John. 15:11). Think of it. Jesus was talking about joy as he approached the death of the cross.
Yes, laughter “doeth good like a medicine.” Maybe you should go tell someone a good clean joke today. Yeah, that’s a good idea. Chances are they never heard it before.
Listen to Pastor Greg Patten on 1090 AM WFCV Saturday morning at 9AM and Sunday at 10:30AM. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor Patten heads Skyline Church the church he founded 18 years ago.
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