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Why So Serious?

Have you ever done something that caused people to laugh at you? Did you laugh with them? Or did you get offended?

I've done some funny, bone-headed things over the years. Here are 3 of them.

Case #1: When I was just a 18-year-old kid, I was invited to speak at a youth conference. I spent many hours preparing my sermon. I put my sermon notes in a brown binder.

I drove a few hours to the church where the conference was being held.

I was fired up and ready to share the "amazing sermon" I had prepared. When it was time, I walked to the pulpit. I opened my notebook...and my heart skipped a beat or two. I had brought the wrong notebook. The "amazing sermon" I had prepared was no where to be seen.

I stuttered and stammered around for a few minutes and then woefully apologized to the audience for my mistake and gave up trying to share any more. It was very embarrassing to say the least. The people in the audience gave me some grace, but I am sure they were laughing and thinking "what a bonehead."

Case #2: I was speaking in the weekend services at a church in the Tampa Bay area. The church has one service on Saturday and two on Sunday. I had just finished speaking at the first service on Sunday and was interacting with some of the people who had attended. A lady approached me and whispered to me, "I need to tell you something." Okay. I thought she might be getting ready to tell me about something going on in her life, ask a question or comment on something I said during the message. But here's what she said. "You still have the sales tag on your coat." "Where?" I said. "Under your arm. I saw it when you were speaking." My heart skipped a beat. I raised my arm and sure enough...there was the sales tag. I had spoke Saturday night and Sunday morning with a sales tag hanging out of my coat! I felt like an idiot! I thanked her and obviously quickly removed the tag. I was so embarrassed. Case #3 - This past weekend, I was speaking at a church in the Kansas City area. I was using a handheld mic. I was thirsty, so I grabbed a water bottle with the other hand and took a quick drink. For some reason, I put the mic down to adjust my notes and then started back up with the talk. After about 30 seconds, I looked down and I was using the water bottle as my microphone. I was talking into a water bottle like it was a microphone. The audience burst out in laughter and all I could do was smile and join them.

Hopefully, you haven't done too many funny and embarrassing things like this that have caused people to laugh at you. But if and when you do, laugh with them. Don't be so serious that you can't laugh at yourself.

Laughing at yourself helps you stay humble. When it comes to ministry, most of us tend to get intense...ready to save the world...focused on our mission. It's great to be focused. But not to the point where you can't laugh with people when you make a funny mistake.

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 18:24

Don't let pride and arrogance take you down. Walk humbly and don't take yourself so seriously.

Laughing at yourself can help you deal with criticism. Instead of getting defensive and uptight, laugh at yourself. This can help remove the sting of an insult and lets people know you are a balanced, mature leader that can handle criticism. Laughter also has a way of diffusing intense situations you many find yourself in.

Laugh at yourself but don't let your inner critic dominate you. All of us have an inner critic. It's that negative voice that tells you that you're not qualified, that you will fail and that you are not a good leader. Stop being your own worst critic. Be confident, but not cocky.

Don't be so "super spiritual" that you can't laugh at yourself. I don't see any time in scripture where the Pharisees laughed. They were too pious for that. They were too "spiritual" to laugh.

But the picture of Jesus that we find in the Gospels is one of a well-rounded, magnetic personality. He carried children in His arms. He was accused of being too joyful on occasion (Luke 7:34). He told John's disciples it was not a time for sadness (Matthew 9:15).

Why so serious ?


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