“Learn to laugh at yourself more freely. Don’t take yourself or your circumstances so seriously.”                                                                              – “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young


“35 flavors of milk shakes,” screamed the commercial. After several hundred exposures to the ad, Mell and I decided to take action. We drove to the curb-side service restaurant and placed an order for hot dogs and milk shakes. My choice was peanut butter, chocolate fudge. I had been dreaming about that milkshake. I could taste the rich combined flavor of chocolate fudge and peanut butter ice cream.


Within minutes the server came out with the order. Noticing several tables outside, we decided to leave the car and enjoy our meal in the bright sunshine.


I climbed out of the car with food in one hand and my milkshake in the other. Suddenly, the full, untasted milkshake literally slid out of my hand bounced on my leg, hit the concrete pavement with a loud splat while the contents seemed to leap out of the flimsy container onto my pants and my shoes.


Now picture this; I was standing in a restaurant parking lot with milkshake drippings literally an inch thick on my pants going all the way down to the top of my shoes. In fact, looking back on it, I’m not sure any of the peanut butter-chocolate fudge milkshake actually hit the pavement… just me.


I’m not proud of what happened next.


I took off my shoe and then started yelling and beating the pavement, with my shoe. What? Yes, I was beating the pavement and yelling at my ice cream covered shoe. Why? I have no idea. Oh my.


I did calm down enough to go inside and get cleaned up somewhat. The poor waitress offered to make me another milkshake but all I could say in response was, “I’ve lost all desire for a milk shake.”


Sometimes, we need to laugh even if the joke is on us. Remember the devotion: “Learn to laugh at yourself more freely. Don’t take yourself or your circumstances so seriously.”


Proverbs 17:22 teaches: “A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”


Jesus says in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened and I will cause you to rest.”


I know what you’re thinking, “Being a minister is serious business!” Yes it is. I’m often exposed to the most sensitive and tragic moments in a person’s life. Often, when there is an illness, death or marital dispute, I receive the call to listen and offer the wisdom and comfort of God’s presence.


But over the years, I have discovered something profound. God has a wonderful sense of humor and God’s creatures were created to laugh as well as cry. Jesus said in Luke 6:21. “God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy.” What a great promise!


This is what I’ve learned about laughter:


• Laughter can calm your fears.
• Laughter can restore your hope.
• Laughter can ease your pain.
• Laughter can strengthen your resolve.
• Laughter can turn arrogance into humility.


The devotion by Sarah Young goes on: “Laughter lightens your load and lifts your heart into heavenly places. Your laughter rises to heaven and blends with angelic melodies of praise. Just as parents delight in the laughter of their children, so I delight in hearing My children laugh. I rejoice when you trust Me enough to enjoy our life lightheartedly.”


I don’t plan to order a peanut butter chocolate fudge milkshake again anytime soon but I do plan to overcome the embarrassment of looking foolish and instead tell this story to anyone who will listen and laugh… and laugh some more. I think God would laugh too.

1 Comment

Mary Liz · June 30, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Love it, Larry. I am sending it to Ed Martin….I get after him a lot about laughter and smiling….

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