Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2-4

I have a friend with the amazing gift of never taking anything too seriously. I remember going to a movie with him and as we were walking down the stairs to exit the theater, he slipped and fell. He didn’t just fall down one or two stairs… he rolled all the way down to the very bottom of the theater, with people jumping out of his way and popcorn flying as he went. Once I rushed down and made sure he was okay, I was absolutely mortified for him. I will never forget, though, how he stood up and started laughing – not an awkward and embarrassed laugh, but a deep, hearty belly laugh. Soon, everyone left in the theater was in stitches, all because of my friend’s ability to laugh at himself.

The words “humor,” “humble,” and “human” all come from the same Latin word: “humus,” meaning “ground” or “earth.” Each time I remember this etymological connection, it reminds me that to be able to laugh at oneself is to live with humility. It is a decentering of oneself that helps us to not take ourselves too seriously because it re-grounds us in that ancient truth: “From dust you have come and to dust you shall return.”

Theologian G.K. Chesterton calls us to loosen our grip, not only on our own importance, but also on the importance of the things in our lives. He writes, “The man who takes everything seriously is the man who makes an idol of everything.” If we can loosen our grip and laugh, we will be more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, calling us to growth and newness.

Is there an area of your life that you have been taking too seriously? How might you open yourself up to see the humor in that situation?

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” – Henry Ward Beecher