I have been involved in church planting for nearly two decades. Church planting is a lot like being in the Marines, it is the toughest job you will ever love. Each month we gather with church planters in our area for a monthly Church Planter's Network meeting. Normally we have a meal, then a short time of devotions and prayer, followed by some type of training that the planters requested. It has been very beneficial to all the leaders involved.
But this month we decided to do something different. We decided to invite other church planting leaders from around the state who were involved in other networks to join us for dinner and fellowship. My wonderful wife, who is an amazing cook, created a culinary masterpiece of chicken, lasagna, and all the trimmings to go with it. We played games and we laughed a lot. Then we played some more games and laughed even more. One man said, "I have not laughed that hard in years."
The "administrator" in me did slip in a little promotion for the My Hope evangelism effort that I talked about in yesterday's blog (click here to read that). But other than that, the point of the evening was fun and fellowship.
Sometimes, I think we Christian leaders get so focused on the serious business of ministry (and what we do is very serious), that we forget to just laugh. I am reminded of King Solomon's words in Proverbs 17:22 "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Too many of us have crushed spirits and need to rediscover our joy in Christ. We need to remember what King David said in Psalm 126:2 "Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them.” The laughter on our lips does not come from the vulgar jokes of our fallen culture, or the cruel pranks of twisted minds, it comes from the gratitude that wells up within us as we think of all that Christ has done for us. We all know there are times to be serious, to weep and to mourn. But too many of us have forgotten what the wise teacher said in Ecclesiastes 3:5, there is "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Last night, it was about laughing, and it was a real blessing.
If you have not laughed lately, find some Christian friends and have dinner together. Tell stories. Tell jokes. Watch a funny video. Play charades. Enjoy the life God has given you.