If you stole an Amazon package of Keurig coffee pods and two ice trays from Tim Lake of Arcadia, Arizona, you’re a celebrity. After a security camera at Lake’s home captured a woman walking into his yard and stealing his $22 delivery, he decided to help police catch the criminal. He made a poster with the woman’s picture, titled: “BEWARE.”
Lake’s poster has now gone viral. On it he lists various characteristics of the criminal in question: “Description of Perp: Jerk.” “Eyes: Vacant, uncaring, and lacking a soul.” “Nationality: Un-American.” “Occupation: Burglar.” “Parental Involvement: Lacking.” He warns us, “y’all need to hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your Internet purchase cause they’re robbin’ everybody out there.”
So far his poster hasn’t generated any helpful tips, but it did help him make new friends in the neighborhood. And, despite the theft, he tells a reporter that he’ll continue getting packages delivered to his home, even though there’s a UPS center a five-minute drive away: “If I have to drive to pick up my packages, the terrorists have won.”
Most of us deal with frustrating annoyances every day. But few of us respond to them with the creativity and humor Tim Lake demonstrated. Jesus was the exception to that rule, as his followers should be today. Elton Trueblood, one of the 20th century’s greatest scholars, penned the now-classic The Humor of Christ. It begins: “The widespread failure to recognize and to appreciate the humor of Christ is one of the most amazing aspects of the era named for Him.”
Trueblood notes Jesus’ use of “deliberately preposterous statements” such as the camel and the needle’s eye; his consistent use of irony in pointing out the hypocrisies of religious leaders; and his humorous dealings with his disciples. In contrast to the “meek-and-mild” picture of Jesus popular today, our Lord’s critics accused him of going to too many parties (Luke 7:33-35). He promised his followers, “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Joy is one of the “fruit” or products of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is also one of our most powerful tools for witness and ministry. When we laugh at life’s frustrations and “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2) no matter our circumstances, others take note.
Robert Louis Stevenson recorded in his diary, as though recording an unusual event: “I have been to church today and I am not depressed.” But biblical scholar William Barclay was right: “A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.” He added: “There is no virtue in the Christian life which is not made radiant with joy; there is no circumstance and no occasion which is not illuminated with joy. A joyless life is not a Christian life, for joy is one constant recipe for Christian living.”
Have you asked the Spirit to demonstrate his joy in your life yet today?