I Cannot Be Serious

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22a)

In all seriousness, I would rather be as silly as possible. “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3), yes. But if I can crack a straight-faced joke or insert the odd observation that (I should hope) no one thought of, I’ll do it. Anything to maintain a little joy. Some people (the ones who don’t know me) think I’m so serious. They think they know me–and they might. Some of this must surely be a remnant of my attention-grabbing, childish carefreeness. But I think it’s more. I’ll explain.

Timing is everything

“but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11b)

As a kid, it was frowned upon. The earlier, the more tolerated, yes. But anymore, at least in a professional setting–whether busy or no–ill-timed humor may mean the kiss of death. And it doesn’t help when I try to pass of “no reason” when asked why I’m happy. Spontaneous jokes, double entendres (nothing crude, of course), snappy wordplay. I’m good for all of it. But is it the right time? By golly! It had better be.

“For the love of Christ constraineth us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient…” (1 Corinthians 6:12a)

See, joy is one of those intangibles. If you were to split open my spirit, you’d see it there. There with the life of God and peace and love and all the other “fruits of the Spirit” that are incubating even as they flourish and sprout. Unlike the atom though, our spirit cannot be destroyed. This is why those who die for Jesus, are martyred for Him, exude forgiveness and compassion and a sort-of holy energy upon release from their earthly house. There has to be some means of conveying the joy of the Lord, even as we go about our day in the framework of our body and our language. This is why jokes. Because they allow joy to be diffused and released–and realized. But it has to be done in step with the Holy Spirit. Because there aren’t a lot of reasons to be happy on this earth, without Him.

Look at it this way. If all you have is joy coming out your ears, couch it in this:

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15)

Because not everyone thinks I’m funny.

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