While there are differing opinions on the 2nd Commandment, and I’m not the biggest fan of pictures or paintings of Jesus, there are two that come to mind when I think of Jesus’ life here on earth. One is of Jesus laughing, and the other is of Him playing soccer with kids.
Now, while I’m sure Jesus laughed, I don’t exactly believe Jesus played soccer with kids––but I’m not sure I’d put it past Him if soccer had been around. You see, most pictures of Jesus are of what I like to call Olan Mills Jesus––the one where He appears to be taking his pic for the church directory. But this isn’t a post about whether Jesus was white or if pictures of Jesus are right or wrong.
It’s about having the joy of Christ.
Recently, I was in Albuquerque for the Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. As the 2nd Vice President, one of my assigned tasks was to take everyone’s temperature as they came in. With COVID-19 raging, the BCNM took the health and safety of participants (who were mostly twice my age or more) seriously.
Beau Lamb, a New Mexican pastor and BCNM’s 1st Vice President, joined me at the entrance where they gave us stun guns––I mean, touchless thermometers. And we had a blast. It was a joy to say things like, “May I have the privilege of shooting you in the face?” We even played a practical joke or two and reenacted the Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel. I don’t think we stopped laughing for the entire two hours we were taking temperatures.
To be honest, there’s nothing inherently fun about taking someone’s temperature…though I’m sure a touchless thermometer is infinitely better than having to administer, ummm, those temps kid doctors have to take. There’s nothing fun about awkwardly standing at an entrance of a building, especially when you’re dealing with those that refuse to have their temperature taken. Some tasks just aren’t fun at their core…but they can be. That is if you have the joy of Christ.
Think about it…
“I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11 CSB).
“At that time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure” (Luke 10:21 CSB).
“For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2b CSB).
There were times Jesus was serious, but He was no sourpuss. There were times Jesus undoubtedly laughed, but He was no clown. I think His life was a perfect embodiment of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
Christian, when was the last time you laughed until your sides hurt? We’re living amid stressful times, and much has been said of 2020 being the worst century ever––the hits just keep coming. Maybe you don’t have a reason to laugh, and I get that. But maybe––just maybe––you need to lighten up and let loose with a hearty belly laugh.
As you aim to live like Jesus, you have everything in you that you need to laugh, and His name is Jesus. It’s just a picture but look again at the pictures of Jesus laughing and playing soccer, and make a point this week to unwind a bit, laugh, and show off some of the joy that’s in you as a Believer. Life’s too hard to live it as a sourpuss––laugh a lil.