In reading Philip Yancey’s devotional, Grace Notes, I noted that he made an interesting observation. Yancey quoted the poet W. H. Auden who said that humans are distinct in that we are the only animals who work, laugh and pray. He went on to comment about Christians in those three areas. I wholeheartedly concur with him!
At work, Christians unabashedly excel. Who could forget the work ethic of our founding fathers? Oh yeah, I forgot, there’s a whole generation who doesn’t know about them because in our public schools they are often not even taught about our forefathers anymore, never mind the ethical code…but I digress!
As Christians, we often take the work ethic so seriously it consumes us. Our churches are often run like corporations. We squeeze our quiet times into our calendar schedule and many pastors maintain a hectic pace rivaling some mega business executive. For many Christians, work has become their allowable addiction!
Prayer on the other hand, is somehow turning into another “to do” on the list, another “work” item. It’s the “list” that has to be brought to the Lord! We talk and we ask, but do we ever just listen? Do we bask in His presence engulfed in His glory? The biographies of great Christians are always threaded with the model of prayer…a never-ending conversation of speaking and listening that is enjoyed because it is a love relationship between them and God.
The final item in Auden’s observation is laughter. Hmm—in this, sometimes Christians lag behind (I thank God that my family and friends don’t suffer from lack of humor and laughter!). But Christianity is often perceived by others as being dry and stoic—not because it is, but because many Christians portray it that way!
What is that all about! Being saved, redeemed, able, in the righteousness of Jesus to communicate with God, the death sentence of eternal damnation is removed…and we are “stoic”! Heck, because of all that, we should be known for laughter, gaiety and freedom! Ethical excellence should not mean exclusion from joy and levity. Granted, these are serious times but we need not take ourselves so seriously.
I more picture Jesus enjoying His work because prayer and laughter were with Him in abundance. C’mon, people…let’s laugh and pray a little more. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!