“Are there any prayer needs today?” I asked during a worship service. One person mentioned a neighbor who was sick. Another spoke of a couple with financial problems. A young man asked us to pray his grandmother. I said, “If there are no other concerns let us bow our heads and pray.”
Then I felt something tugging on my pants leg and at the same time heard a loud whisper: “Preacher, Preacher: “I ‘needs’ something too!”
I slightly opened one eye and saw a little boy was on his hands and knees below me, tugging on my pants leg and earnestly whispering: “Preacher, I ‘needs’ something too!”
The choir members behind were beginning to lose their composure and I could hear giggling in the background as the boy continued tugging on my pants and was by now speaking loudly: “Preacher, I ‘needs’ something!”
“Oh no!” I thought. “Had I ignored the prayer need of a small child? Maybe he knew of someone who was ill?” Feeling guilty and ashamed, I stopped the prayer and gently asked the young boy: “Yes son, what do you need?”
He paused, looked at everyone: “Preacher, preacher — I ‘needs’ to go to the bathroom!”
Sometimes, you just have to laugh!
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.
Many years ago, I returned to my home church for the first time since becoming a minister. I was nervous about how friends and family would respond. After all, these people only knew me as a wise-cracking teenager and salesman. Now, I was coming back to their congregation as a pastor. What a change! How would they react to the new me?
There was no need to worry. After the worship service, everyone gathered to offer congratulations and praise. Well, except for one older gentleman. For a moment he stayed in the background and quietly watched. Then, he slowly walked forward, planted himself directly in front of me and stared deeply into my eyes for several seconds. (It seemed like hours!) With just a trace of a smile beginning to crack his stony face, he uttered the words that would shatter any sense of false pride, I might consider claiming.
“Larry, if God can turn you into a preacher, He can save just about anyone!”
What could I say? Sometimes, you just have to laugh!