Everyone needs to have a little fun now and then. Good times seem to follow some people and not others, and the rest of us are drawn to them because they give life an up-side when it gets heavy on the down.
My mother was one of those and had a head full of jokes and a closet full of games. I don’t mean games like Monopoly or Scrabble, although she had those, too, but action games that got people out of their chairs, on the floor… and laughing. She loved to have a good time and went to great lengths to coax others to do the same.
But there’s another aspect to cheery people. They put pizzazz in an otherwise ordinary set of circumstances. Yesterday on a Michigan expressway I saw one of these people. Though I’ll never meet him, I wish I could. He was driving a massive semi-truck with a heavy load on it heading toward Chicago. As I passed him, I noticed a tiny little something securely tied to his flat bed with a big strap: a tiny toy truck.
Grabbing my phone, I clicked a picture while enjoying the intended chuckle. God seems to place us next to people like this when we need them most. He partners the lighthearted with the somber in friendship, in marriage, and in business. But interestingly, it’s not just about the joyful ones trying to brighten up the serious.
Fun-lovers gain greatly by sharing a laugh with others, more so than keeping it to themselves. That’s what’s behind the waves of forwarded email humor we all receive and send onward. It’s also what drives stand-up comics and is what’s peeking out beneath our “Merry Christmas” greetings. It’s also what motivates a truck driver to grab our attention with a toy.
Scripture touts the importance of spreading this good cheer. Different passages recommend it
- when anxiety weighs down the heart
- when someone is feeling oppressed
- when medical problems are overwhelming
- when it’s too hot or too cold
- when a person is feeling old and worn out
- when heartache has crushed the spirit
- when mourning has gone on too long
- when someone is troubled and feels hopeless
All of these people benefit from a dose of good cheer. There is one instance, however, when the Bible says sorrow is better than laughter, and that’s when repentance is needed. Paul describes sorrow over personal sin as an important “downer,” since it often leads to repentance and in turn, to an open relationship with God. Injecting fun into that situation too soon would only damage what could otherwise be a priceless outcome.
But after someone has become right with God, then is the time to have some fun, maybe even to strap a tiny truck onto the bed of a giant semi.
“Now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended.” (2 Corinthians 7:9)