Friday, February 12, 2010

Have you learned to laugh?

Alright, I'll do it. I'll give you one of my embarrassing moments as a minister. I can do that now, because my readership of this blog is quite low. So here it is. At my first church I was preparing to begin the adult Sunday School which met up in the sanctuary. It was a small Sanctuary and we would gather together as a class on one side. I stood up and sorted my notes for the class looking out to make sure everyone was ready. Everyone was seated and we were just about ready to start, when one of the older ladies leaned over and whispered to her husband. However, her whisper carried in the small sanctuary and I at least heard it. Whether others did, I don't know. She said to her husband, "Tell pastor his zipper's down." (NOTE to young minister's starting out in the ministry, always check your zipper before going up front to preach, teach, or do a ceremony. Double or triple check if necessary. And if your still paranoid, discretely check while standing behind the pulpit.)

What could I do, but turn around ,zip up, and start the class. Of course, my face looked like I had a terrible sunburn, but I managed to get through it. I don't know if that incident was quite as bad as calling the groom a woman at an extravaggant wedding I performed in LA. I hardly knew any of the guests, many of whom were an upper society class, and I asked the bride, "Do you take this woman--" She immediately interrupted and said, "I'm the woman!" Fortunately, the groom was my friend (one of the few people I knew at the ceremony) and took it in stride. In fact, both him and the bride hammed it up a bit, making it quite memorable.

A.W. Tozer, in his classic book The Pursuit of God, wrote, "The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort. He develops toward himself a kindly sense of humor..."

Tozer went on to note how such a person does not allow the slights of others to eat away at him or humiliate him. The meek man has a healthy sense of humility that knows his own shortcomings and accepts that reality. He can laugh at himself for he knows as a human being he is full of imperfections.

This meekness, however, should not be viewed as an inferiority complex. One who consistently talks about how horrible he is has an unhealthy focus on self. Such an attitude is really an inverted form of pride. Tozer describes the motto of meekness like this: "In myself nothing; in God, everything." The meek person focuses on God.

I'll be honest, I don't like it when people speak negatively or disparagingly about me. Yet, I need to remember that this world isn't about me, and the fact is there's a lot about me a person could rightly criticize. I'm human and make plenty of mistakes, but I have a perfect God who can overcome them (even when I forget about my zipper).

Learning to laugh at ourselves and trust in our loving, omnipotent God will save us a lot of grief. The burden of pretense will be lifted and we'll find "the peace which meekness brings" (Tozer). Let's learn to laugh!


  1. Oh Pastor Scott! How we do miss you!

  2. Readership is quite low - Hmmm...we'll have to do something about that, considering the embarrassing personal moments discussed :)

    Oh - but about the lesson; Learning to laugh at oneself. Definitely need to do that. Working on that.

    Pastor, you are an even better writer than you are a speaker (and I do think you are a good speaker)