When you listen to a really good stand-up comic, you can almost anticipate the punch line. You can feel the way they time their story, working the message until they finally are ready to deliver the pay-off. It’s amazing to realize how you are drawn in, waiting for the last laugh. The comic knows when to deliver the punch, when to wrap it up and give the great finish to the tale. If it goes on too long, you feel yourself hoping they’ll get to the punchline and keep things moving.
Sometimes life feels like we’re waiting for the punch line, the pay off, the thing that will give us that aha moment when we make sense out of everything we’ve been through. We think about the plans we made, the way we set everything up, offering the right rhythm and cadence so that the delivery would be magnificent. The punchline we think, will pull it all together and make us smile. Somehow it doesn’t always happen as we plan.
The joke is on us!
It’s not really about the punch line, of course.
It’s about our willingness to stand up and deliver a message. It’s about the trust it takes to give it another go, try again, keep moving in spite of what didn’t happen in the last round. We’ve all got great one-liners. We’ve told some pretty incredible stories when we think about it. We’ve had happy endings we never dreamed would be there and we’ve had odd, crazy endings too. Sometimes we felt punched, other times we felt like we delivered the best possible outcome, we were movin’ and groovin’.
Not many of us are going to get a standing ovation every time. Some of us, may not get one at all, at least so that we would recognize it. The fact is, every time we deliver the message though, the point gets clearer to those who hear it. It gets clearer to us too. Jesus delivered his message over and over in every way he could think of. He presented the Gospel, the Word, the direction and whether they were kings or shepherds, they had a chance to choose to listen, to seek the pay-off that he presented.
The job we have then is to keep standing, keep looking for those who will listen, to those who need another opportunity to hear what God would have them know. Each time we faithfully deliver, God provides someone with the punch line, sometimes knocking them right off their feet. He has a plan and he uses those of us who enjoy the comedy of life, to bring the message in whatever form we choose to tell it.
I’m not good at telling jokes, but I love having a good sense of humor. One of my favorites comes from the humor of Mark Twain who gave us the beautiful line, “For God so loved the world, He didn’t send a committee.” I always thought that was worthy of a standing ovation. I also like the story of when he wrote to his father asking for money to buy a bible. He amended it by saying, “Dad, don’t send the bible, send the money.” Ah…an enterprising student to be sure.
Today, as you look at what you want to deliver to the world, don’t worry so much about the punchline. Deliver the right message and God will take care of the result. Besides, God loves the way you look at things. He may even think you’re kind of funny!
Make Him smile today.