When thinking of God, one often sees a deadly serious, grouchy, old man in front of him, who is hard at work ruling the world and punishing people. There is much more to Him: Yes, He is the creative creator and the righteous judge. Yes, He is the all-knowing king and all-powerful ruler. But He is also the loving father who gave His Son for us and who cares for us. He waits for us with open arms. And: God has a sense of humor. Seemingly unbelievable, isn’t it? It’s not knee-slapping brute humor. There are some passages in the Bible that are (cryptically) humorous in my opinion:
Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9): the people build a huge tower, with a top “reaching to heaven.” What does God do: “Then the Lord came down from heaven to look at the city and the structure that the people were building for themselves.” (verse 5)
One of my favorite stories is Matthew 17:24-27: it’s about paying the temple tax. For this purpose, the disciples need money. Instead of it being taken out of the purse or Jesus making a coin appear, He says this to Peter, “But we do not want to give them cause to be angry with us. Therefore, go to the lake and cast your line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch. You will find in it the exact coin you need for your tax and mine. Pay the temple tax with it!” (Verse 27)
Isaiah writes about the people of his time (Isaiah 44:16&17): “They throw some of the wood into the fire, roast their meat over it and enjoy it. They sit by the embers and say, ‘Ah, this comforting warmth, it does good!’ But from the remaining wood they carve an idol for themselves. They bow down to it, throw themselves on the ground and pray, ‘Save me, for you are my God!‘ Sometimes I think to myself that we make our gods just as much ourselves…
Other passages that can make you smile:
- Matthew 23:24
- Proverbs 11:22
- 1 Samuel 21:11-16
I believe that God has to laugh and is really happy about us humans. There is not much about God’s laughter literally in the Bible, but there is about the things in which He takes pleasure. Certainly, many things that happen here in the world make Him sad and angry. But He also invented joy and laughter and humor. Why should we shy away from that?
When asked to describe a Christian, the first characteristic that comes to mind is certainly not humor. Far too often we are serious and try not to do anything wrong and do not fail to point out to others what they are doing wrong as well. I think we should relax and not take things so seriously, enjoy life, be grateful to God for the things that bring us joy. Worry brings life by itself. After all, it’s not “Sad is the people whose God is the Lord” but “Joyful.” If we take to heart that we are allowed to be merry and joyful sometimes – even beyond the joy of salvation – then some things are easier to bear and we may no longer seem so cranky and strange to other people. It is not about pretending and putting on a funny facade.
There are people who are rather quiet and melancholy – that’s okay, and there are those who have a cheerful disposition. To those I would like to encourage: Don’t hide and don’t put your cheerfulness outside the worship space, but bring a little bit of fun and joy into other people’s lives through your nature. And to those who are only serious and can’t approve of such things, I would like to say: Be a little relaxed and think about who invented humor…
Thanks for reading!
I do know some jokes. Unfortunately, the ones I like best are ones I wouldn’t necessarily tell here… There are Christian jokes too, but some of them are really lame. Sometimes they are “dangerous” in the sense that something like that can quickly slip into the blasphemous – that wouldn’t be good.
Here are a few “nice” examples:
A Catholic priest, a Protestant pastor and a Jewish rabbi are talking about when life begins. “With conception,” says the priest. “No, of course with birth,” says the priest. The rabbi says, “My dear friends, life begins when the children are out of the house!”
A workman stands before Peter at the door of heaven. “Why did I have to die already – I’m only thirty-eight.” In response, Peter looks in his book and says, “According to the hours you’ve billed your customers, you’re at least 84!”
In the sermon, the pastor says, “Dear congregation, when I see you sitting here in your fancy Sunday clothes, I wonder, Where are the poor in my congregation? But when I empty the offering box, I ask myself, Where are my rich?”
Charles Spurgeon (English preacher): “Some preachers seem to want to recommend themselves as martyrs. They are so dry that they are sure to burn well.”
Can you think of any more? Then leave a comment…