๐Ÿ‘‘ The Gravity of the Situation โ€“ Titus 2:7

Nearly two millennia ago, the Apostle Paul advised young Pastor Titus,

โ€œIn all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewingโ€ฆgravityโ€ (Titus 2:7).

That word โ€œgravityโ€ meansย seriousness.ย It refers to something that isย gravelyย serious. Thatโ€™s why Paulโ€™s words here have led some pastors to believe that humor has no place in the pulpit. But it is my personal conviction that humor is an effective teaching tool that can be used to illustrate a point of doctrine and make it more memorable. While preaching Iโ€™ll sometimes even say, โ€œNow youโ€™ll remember the jokeโ€“donโ€™t forget the point!โ€

Itโ€™s also my conviction thatย God Himselfย has a sense of humor, and uses it frequently in His Word. I laugh every time I read what Moses said when he gave the law to the people of Israel:

โ€œWhen ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness,ย (for the mountain did burn with fire,)โ€ฆye saidโ€ฆwhy should we die?ย for this great fire will consume us:ย if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall dieโ€ฆGo thou near,ย and hear all that the LORD our God shall sayโ€ฆโ€ (Deuteronomy 5:23-27).

Godโ€™s people told Moses, as it were, โ€œWe find God too scary,ย so you go hear Himย and come back and tell us what He said!โ€ For some reason that always reminds me of when Indiana Jones was looking down into a pit of snakes, and his guide said, โ€œAsps. Very deadly.ย You go first!โ€

Then thereโ€™s the time Samuel told Saul to destroy the Amalekites and all their livestock (I Sam. 15:1-3). Later when the prophet asked the king if he had done so, he claimed he had (I Sam. 15:13). To which Samuel replied, โ€œWhat meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?โ€ (I Sam. 15:14). In other words, โ€œIf you killed all the livestock, how come I still hear them?โ€

But my favorite funny lines are found in the book of Job. After Job finished speaking, Bildad the Shuhiteโ€“the shortest man in the Bible (You know. Shoe-height!)โ€“said, โ€œhow long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?โ€ (Job 8:2).

But Job could give as good as he got! After his friends pontificated awhile, he razzed them by saying, โ€œNo doubt but ye are the people,ย and wisdom shall die with youโ€ย (Job 12:1,2). Later he told them, โ€œO that ye would altogether hold your peace!ย and it should be your wisdomโ€ย (Job 13:5). In other words, โ€œthe smartest thing for you to do would be toย sit down and shut up!โ€ย When they didnโ€™t, he told them, โ€œSuffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken,ย mock onโ€ย (Job 21:3).

I share these smiles with you for a couple of reasons. First, because when I started out in the ministry, I was told that the Word of God is far too serious a book to use humor when teaching it. And to this day Iโ€™m asked why I like to begin my messages with a little bit of wit. Well, beside the fact that all who teach public speaking agree that thatโ€™s the best way to get an audienceโ€™s attention and get them settled down and listening, itโ€™s because I believe God has a sense of humor. We have one, and we are made in His likeness, arenโ€™t we?

But I also share those smiles with you to encourage you to read your Bible through from cover to cover every year using one of those โ€œRead Your Bible Through In A yearโ€ plans. You never know what will tickleย yourย funny bone, and you and the Lord can have a good laugh over it, as I do every year when I come upon those verses and others in my daily Bible reading.

All of this means that when Paul told Titus to show gravity in doctrine, he was reminding him that the edification of the saints is serious stuff, and that a pastor should use every tool in his tool belt to get sound doctrine across to Godโ€™s people in a memorable wayโ€“including humor. Remember, โ€œthe joy of the LORD is your strength,โ€ not your weakness (Neh. 8:10). source

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