Christians are known for many things. Christmas. Easter. St. Patrick’s Day. Potlucks. Followers of Jesus have built orphanages, hospitals, fed the hungry, cared for the sick, and founded many of the great universities. I am privileged to have several atheist friends. Few of them argue when you say that pioneers in compassionate care have been Christians. At the same time, many have been hurt by Christians. I wince when I hear this. We’re all human, of course, but I’m sorry if that’s your experience. Grumpy Christian is the ultimate oxymoron. Like airline food, bagpipe music, or Microsoft Works.
I believe Christians have the greatest reason for joy. We’re forgiven. The best is still on its way. Sadly, some of us look like we could suck buttons off a sofa. Maybe we feel like W. C. Fields who joked, “Smile first thing in the morning and get it over with.”
Oswald Chambers, the author of the bestselling devotional of all time, My Utmost for His Highest, was often criticized for his sense of humour. After meeting Oswald, a rather earnest young man who considered smiling unholy, “I was shocked at what I then considered his undue levity. He was the most irreverent reverend I had ever met!”
Once Oswald stayed home with two children so their parents could attend a Sunday evening service. The couple was confident to leave the kids in the care of this great saint. Upon returning, the couple tucked their kids into bed and asked, “Did Reverend Chambers teach you a nice song or Bible verse?” “Oh, yes,” said the children, then repeated in perfect unison:
“Little Willie in best of sashes
Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes,
Later on, the room grew chilly,
But no one cared to poke poor Willie.”
Oswald’s laugh could be heard echoing down the hall.
Billy Sunday once said, “If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.” Amen. I believe in a holy and awesome God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the One who alone is worthy of my adoration and praise. I also believe in a God who created the wiener dog, the duck-billed platypus, and Mr. Bean. A God who offers us the best reason to laugh: Grace.
How can you read Romans 8:1-2 without smiling?
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
Christians have nothing to fear and everything to look forward to. Including a place where Jesus himself will wipe away all our tears and straighten our question marks into exclamation points. Let’s celebrate with great joy, all the way home.
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