Don’t question God’s sense of humour

They say that anyone who questions God’s sense of humour has never met a duck-billed platypus.

I believe that God created people in his own image. And, since people have a sense of humour — well, maybe not accountants — it’s not unreasonable to think God has one too. Regrettably, it’s when I give my own sense of humour full reign that I get into trouble — especially at church.

When I was a teen, our minister preached about romance and dating. He sternly warned us that all young women should be ‘chaste.’

Needless to say, I thought he said, ‘chased.’ And, being a red-blooded Canadian boy, I was more than eager to serve! It was quite a disappointment to find out what he really meant.

Our young people’s group often put on skits to illustrate the pastor’s sermons. The church met at an auditorium. One Sunday the skit was about the prodigal son and I got my first part playing the father. In the parable the father was overjoyed when his son returned home from abroad. So the director instructed me to “show some enthusiasm.”

I was ready to have some fun with that! Consequently, when the prodigal son entered, I leapt off the stage and stormed down the aisle like a linebacker. The poor prodigal was transfixed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stop in time and careened in to him with a tackle that would make Wally Buono proud. The congregation roared but it was the end of my nascent acting career.

Naturally, many of the elders were not pleased by my antics.

But that just led me to ask a deeper question: Does God have a sense of humour?

From a teenage perspective, I doubted it — given that God, being omniscient, must already know every punch line.

But the Bible disagrees. It says that God sits in the heavens and laughs. (Psalms 2:4). It also instructs us that a merry heart does good like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22) and that there is a time to cry but also a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Moreover, some of the stories in the Scriptures are pretty funny. My favourite is about Balaam, the Midianite prophet. When he tried to curse the Israelites, God prevented it. When Balaam took off on his donkey, God sent an angel to block his way. The donkey stopped. But Balaam, no humanitarian, started beating the animal. So God gave it the power of speech. And the donkey told Balaam off but good! And that, dear reader, is the first time in history an ass offered his opinion. Regrettably, it wasn’t the last.

So, will I ever learn to curb my sense of humour? Probably not. And I’ll almost certainly keep telling corny jokes at church:

“Hey, if a skunk comes to the next service will he sit in the Peppy Le Pew?”

And people will smile – wanly.

Luckily for me, God has a sense of humour.


Just ask any platypus, donkey or humour columnist.



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