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How to Make God Laugh
Brett Anderson ©2004

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 the future...?

"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.