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June 18, 2014 – Isaiah 50

Click here to read Isaiah 50 on BibleGateway.com

Laughing AnimalsFor your enjoyment, I give you the best joke of Immanuel Kant:

An Englishman at an Indian’s table in Surat saw a bottle of ale being opened, and all the beer, turned to froth, rushed out.
The Indian, by repeated exclamations, showed his great amazement.
Well, what’s so amazing in that? asked the Englishman.
Oh, but I’m not amazed at its coming out, replied the Indian, but how you managed to get it all in.

I’ll pause for a moment whilst you regain you breath after the riotous laughter. (And just a bonus fyi, the first joke on record is a Sumerian comment on the hilarity of flatualence. Date: 1900 BC. Hey, if a joke’s funny, stick with it.)

TWO SPHINXES WALK INTO BAR…

It’s fairly clear that humor has undergone some changes throughout history. What was funny 50 years ago is not funny now; just watch some of the old sitcoms and variety shows from the early days of television. Sure, there are some good moments, but overall the humor does not stand up to the ravages of time.

Of course, change doesn’t necessarily mean improvement. If you look at humor these days, what you’ll see most commonly in the comedy clubs is a ridiculously frequent use of profanities and sexual innuendo. If you look at “family-friendly” sitcoms, you will see sarcasm and mocking others as the mainstay. Is this better than pratfalls and Lucy stomping grapes?

Unfortunately, we have let cultural humor affect us as Christians more than we might think. When was the last time you met someone that never put anyone else down? Most of us can probably count those kinds of people on one hand. Even in churches on any given Sunday, you’ll hear more “funny” comments about dumb bosses, nagging wives, or spoiled children than the seldom heard encouraging word.

THE SMALL SPARK

The Bible tells us that our tongues are powerful; we can build or destroy lives with our words more easily than we can we violence. Isaiah 50 tells us “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.” If you are a clever person, if you have a way with words, then you have a responsbility. And that responsibility isn’t to make people laugh or be the life of the party. Your tongue is meant to sustain the weary.

The world is full of weary people. Walk down the street, and note how many of the people you see seem to be carrying an invisible burden. Talk to someone at your coffeeshop, and see how many are genuinely excited about their life. Most of your friends probably have a sense of weariness about them.

This is your opportunity. You can bring life and joy to someone, just by being an encouraging person. Not by pointing out why their life is messed up, not by mocking others with them, not by showing how wise you are. Simply by being an encouragement.

Who can you encourage today?

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