I spent a lot of time, money, and effort childproofing my house…but the kids still get in! What do you get if you cross a parrot and a millipede? A walkie-talkie! Ha! All funny stuff. But believe it or not, there are many who think a good sense of humor is out of place in the same sentence as “God.” Never mind that Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there’s “a time for everything” – among that is “a time to weep and a time to laugh.”
Proverbs 17 tells us that “A joyful heart is good medicine.” That should come as no surprise since we have known for sometime that laughter and a good sense of humor have long-term physical & mental health benefits.
A happy heart reduces stress and increases our tolerance to pain, plus scientists have found that smiling is an effective pain reduction strategy. Laughter is extremely important to your immune system and will even increase the number of natural killer cells and activated T cells which help our bodies stay strong.
Laughing, researchers have found, immediately increases the blood flow to our hearts in the same way that aerobic exercise works. Laughing also lifts depression and helps get us through those tough times in life – plus, it makes us more creative! Apparently, laughter is indeed the best medicine after all.
So – with all the above in mind – let me share a piece that I think will make you laugh out loud. Or, at least smile big!
A long time ago, a Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave the Vatican, unless a member of the Jewish community could win in a religious debate with him. Having no choice and no volunteer, a middle-aged Jewish man was sent to represent them.
Speaking different languages, the Pope began by raising his hand to show three fingers. The man raised one finger in return. The Pope waved his finger around in a circle. The man pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. The man pulled out an apple. The Pope stood up and said, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”
An hour later, the cardinals surrounded the Pope and asked him what happened. The Pope said, “First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God forgives us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”
Meanwhile, the Jewish community crowded around the man and asked, “What happened?” “Well,” he replied, “First he indicated to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I let him know that not one of us was leaving. Then he made it clear that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here.” “And then?” asked a woman. “I don’t know,” said the man. “He took out his lunch and I took out mine.”
A sense of humor is a great asset, so is it any wonder that Proverbs tells us, “He who has a merry heart has a continual feast?!” So – let’s end this ‘banquet’ with a few notable quotes ~
Milton Berle once said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” Maya Angelou wrote, “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh,” and Lord Byron penned, “Always laugh when you can, it’s cheap medicine.” Robert Front said, “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane,” while Walt Disney let us know that “Laughter is America’s most important export.”
And, our ‘one for the road’ is by Sean O’Casey: “Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living!” So, go ahead – rejoice and let the joy of the Lord be your strength!
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. Fo more information, you may contact them at DPCitychurch.org
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