Is a Sense of Humor a Needful Thing?
I've heard people say, "I think God has a sense of humor." I do not believe that they speak wisely concerning this. What we call a sense of humor is nothing more than foolish talking or jesting--these things are not funny to the Lord. In fact, He says that they are not convenient in Ephesians 5. I searched on the word, "laugh" in the Bible. I could only find ONE thing that God will laugh at--and that is the destruction of the wicked. That is not what we would call a sense of humor. The sound of Almighty God laughing at the wicked will be a booming, terrifying sound in the ears of the fools who will have rejected Him and His Christ.
Psalms 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
I hear people say things like, "That pastor has a good sense of humor." I have a question--is a sense of humor a needful thing? I notice that many, many preachers start off their sermons with "an icebreaker" which is oftentimes a joke of some sort. Is this a needful thing?
Ephesians 5:3-4 ...let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Is not a joke jesting? If someone just happens to say something that is funny, that is one thing. But to actually cultivate joke-telling ability in service to the Lord is quite another. We get on the charismatics about their ludicrous "laughing revival" and yet we sit around joking as if it were convenient. What did The Preacher say about laughter?
Ecclesiastes 2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
Sadness and sobriety in spirit does indeed make the countenance better. My best times with the Lord are when I am going through deep waters--not when I'm flappin' my lips too much. One of the benefits of fasting is it sobers us. We put our bodies under subjection and turn our attention to our God meditating on His precepts and commandments. We are looking for Him, seeking Him out. THAT is unspeakable joy, my friend. Joy is not the foolishness of meaningless banter which has a tendency to spread like wildfire infecting everything in its path.
What saith James?
James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
A bunch of hemmin' and hawin' does not glorify Jesus Christ. It glorifies the comedian with a couple of laughs--and that oftentimes at someone else's expense. Foolish talking and jesting also break the flow of the word of God when mixed in with preaching. Do not the scriptures say that we should be sober and grave? We live in perilous times. The night cometh when no man can work. We've got to work while it is day. People don't come to Jesus to be entertained. They can get better entertainment on tv than at a church service. They've come to Him for more abundant life. Young people are looking for something to live and die for. We hear from a lot of them here. An 18 year old recently asked me, with sincere interest, what personal sacrifices I've made in order to serve the Lord. That is a mature question! We exchanged several e-mails about personal holiness. He wants to be a missionary and wants to know what it means to live holy. People don't need no jokes, they need the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus told us something about laughter:
Luke 6:21, 25 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
They that mourn now shall laugh and rejoice in the kingdom to come. This is not what we call "a sense of humor." We will be so overwhelmed with happiness at seeing the Lord that we will laugh. There have been times that I've heard some great preaching, especially when the man is quoting the scriptures from heart and I get excited. Sometimes I let out an "Amen" or a "That's right" or a "Yes Sir". If it's real good a short laugh may come out, not because the thing is funny but because my spirit is rejoicing in the truth. This has nothing to do with our "sense of humor".
The following is a hodge-podge of verses about laughter.
Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 21:6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
2 Kings 19:21 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
2 Chronicles 30:10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.
Nehemiah 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?
Job 5:22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 8:21 Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing. 9:23 If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent. 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. 22:19 The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn. 29:24 If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down. 41:29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. (Leviathan)
Psalms 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 37:13 The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. 52:6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: 59:8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. 80:6 Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. 126:2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.
Proverbs 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (wisdom) 14:13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. 29:9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
Ecclesiastes 2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 7:6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity. 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
Isaiah 37:22 This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
Ezekiel 23:32 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much.
Matthew 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Mark 5:40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
Luke 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 8:53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
James 5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. (The wicked fill their hearts with mirth and merriment, fattening themselves up for the day of slaughter. We Christians know what's coming, we need to be sober.)