How to Make God Laugh
I was reading through the latest Empire Movie
magazine when I came upon this interesting quote from actor Joseph
Fiennes, who is discussing working on his latest World War II movie
"Enemy at the Gates" and the people he refers to in this
quote is the Russian soldiers in the fight against Germany...
'14 Hours a day, 6 days a week, did gradually
begin to take their toll. Oh, it was tough. And also, the very fact
that these people had a life expectancy of only four days really
makes you start to think about the whole idea of fate, ' philosophises
Fiennes, 'You know, it's like that old concept of "How do you
make God laugh? Tell him about your plans..."'
And that really got me thinking a bit about
life and planning for the future etc and I thought a good place
to look would be the Bible to see what it has to say on the subject.
I haven't studied this in depth at all, but all the references I
could think of on this topic are related to focussing on the present
rather than planning for the future.
Now if I was to say that you should only live
for today and not plan for the future, that would have huge implications
for the way that most of us live. For example something like studying
for a degree/job would go out the window, and that cannot be right,
can it? Then, if you follow the other extreme of putting all your
time/energy/money into planning for the future, you run the risk
of never living in the moment or actually having any effect in the
world... So it is definitely something to think about...
But let's go to the Bible and see what it says
in some places...
James 4:13-17 "Now listen, you who say,
'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year
there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know
what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that
appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought
to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'
As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone
then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
Luke 12:22- "Then Jesus said to His disciples:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you
will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than
food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They
do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds
them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you
by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot
do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?... And
do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry
about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your
Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom and these
things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock,
for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your
possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves
that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted,
where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure
is, there your heart will be also."
Jesus carries on from verse 35 to 48 talking
about being ready for when He returns...
These are just two examples but there are others
I can think of like the rich man building his barn to store all
of his money in and God looks down and says "You fool - this
very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get
what you have prepared for yourself?" (Luke 12:13-21)
So that statement of "How do you make God
laugh? Tell Him your plans..." is a really interesting one
- however in all truth, I wonder if it does make God laugh or if
in fact it makes Him shake His head and let out a long sigh....
"There they go again...."
When I look at Jesus and His disciples they
gave up everything and walked around preaching and doing miracles
and healing people and so I sometimes think that that is the way
it is meant to still be done today... but then I know there are
people like Paul who worked (as a tent-maker) while they ministered
and paid their own way, so I am very hesitant to say that the correct
way to be a Christian is to have a job or to not have a job... I
don't think that is the issue here.
I guess the issue would be more something like
"How do you come up with your plans?" Do you go to God
and ask what His plans are for your life and how you can fit in
with them...? Or do you come up with your own idea or scheme of
how things should work out and then ask God to bless it and make
it happen? OR do you not consider God at all in your planning for
"Where your treasure is, there your heart
will be also." - that's something we all think is a pretty
nifty statement I'm sure - but is it something you believe in and
live? If we think of our life here on earth as a small fraction
of eternity then where does the main emphasis of my life fall? Here-and-now,
or in the long-term?
I want to encourage you to take a step back
and look at your life and the plans you have and really see where
God fits into all that... I really do not want this to be an exercise
of "woe is me - I've got all my priorities screwed up"
or something negative like that... but rather see it as something
positive - "What changes should I be making to make sure that
my life fits in with God's plans for me? How can I make a difference
in the lives of others? What can I do to further the Gospel in my
family, my friends' lives etc?"
Remember that God wants the best for you - He
is not sitting in Heaven looking down with His finger on the lightning
button waiting to zap you for wrong choices and foolish or selfish
priorities - He wants you to succeed - He wants to use you to change
the world... and His plans are best, always...
You want to make God laugh? You want to really
put a smile on His face? Then place yourself in His Hands. Go to
Him before you make life decisions. Go to Him about career opportunities,
about relationships you want to pursue, even about the small things...
God has certainly given us a huge picture of His will in the Bible
and through His Holy spirit in us and through Christian people we
are in contact with and so He won't specifically answer directly
to us every single time (He uses these other things) but keep including
Him in your decision-making and give Him the opportunity to direct,
to open the door, to create the opportunities you need... you will
be amazed at the results...
You can make a difference in this world,
especially when it's you and God.