KEYWORDS: god, laugh, lord, things, world, humour

Be So Happy!

David Berg

—MO April 7, 1972 NO.159—GP

P.O. Box 31, London WC2E 7LX, England or GPO Box 3141, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936

1. THE POOR HIPPIE WANTED TO IMPRESS THE SYSTEMITE LADY of the house with how hungry he was, thinking he'd get a good handout in the way of a good meal, so he got down on his hands and knees on the front lawn pretending to be eating grass. When the Systemite lady came out on the front porch and saw him she said.—Oh my dear, you poor boy! Why don't you go round in the backyard!—The grass is much longer back there!"—The generosity of some Systemites!

2. THE POOR HIPPIE WAS STANDING ON THE STREET CORNER GIVING OUT NEWSPAPERS in return for twenty-five-cent donations when the Systemite walked up‚ took two papers, and handed him a quarter, saying grandly, "I want you to know, young man, that I don't give you this because I feel that I have to or because I think it's my duty or because I even think your paper's worth it!—But I just enjoy giving!"—To which our dear hippie replied, "Well, Mister, why don't you give us a dollar and have a real good time!"

3. WE ALL NEED A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOUR! "A merry heart doeth good like medicine!" God created us with a sense of humour and the ability to laugh at things that are funny. So I'm sure He Himself has a sense of humour, especially when I look at some of the things and people He has created and the funny situations He lets them get into. Someone has said that a sense of humour is the ability to see the funny side of a serious situation and to laugh at things when they're not the way they ought to be. Like the very formal preacher I knew who always wore a formal frock coat, or what we used to call "tie-n–tails" in the pulpit, similar to our modern tuxedo, and he was so particular about the crease in his trousers that while waiting in his study for his part of the service to begin, during Sunday School he would take them off and hang them up rather than sit down in them! (This actually happened) Until one Sunday morning when he suddenly remembered, just as they were dismissing Sunday School, that he was supposed to make an important announcement to the children, so he quickly jumped up and dashed out of his office onto the platform shouting, "Children, children!—Just a moment!—I have something very important to show you!" As the kids turned around and looked back at him on the platform‚ for a moment there was a stunned silence, followed by a roar of laughter as they looked at the preacher standing there with the announcement in his hand held high in the air and his bare knees clearly visible above the altar rail! His congregation obviously had a good sense of humour!

4. HOWEVER, HE DID NOT! For when he looked down to see what they were laughing at, he nearly fainted, and barely managed to stumble back into his office where he collapsed, instead of being able to laugh at himself and his own ridiculous failure to remember to put is pants on before he went on the platform!

5. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS BEING TOO SERIOUS AND TOO SOBER about some things and taking some things too seriously, especially yourself! The ability to laugh at yourself and your own silly mistakes is a great asset and helps keep you humble. But he who can't laugh at his own mistakes or take the mistakes of others with sense of humour either has too much pride or too severe a sense of life, God intended for us to enjoy living and He has given us the ability, the senses and the environment to enjoy it, including Himself, and our main purpose in life‚ as Martin Luther said, is "to love God and enjoy Him forever!" And I might add, to help others enjoy life by helping them to do the same by telling them of God's love and the happy life we live together!

6. IF THERE'S ANYTHING THAT PEOPLE NOTICE and remark about when they visit our Colonies‚ it's the joy‚ the happiness, the laughter, the smiles, radiant faces‚ cheerful voices and happy praises! They just can't believe that any people could be so happy in spite of the hard life we live and the privations and sacrifice and hardships we endure. But we're happy and always laughing and singing and even dancing as we praise the Lord!—And it's this very joy and happiness and obviously loving fellowship which is so attractive to others. They immediately see we have something better than they have and that we're happier than they are and they want what we've got, and we're happy to give to them: Jesus and His Happy Holy Spirit! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Amen?

7. SO GOD CREATED YOU TO ENJOY THE LIFE HE'S GIVEN YOU and to love and enjoy Him forever and to try to help others to do the same! Even the martyrs didn't die sadly or sorrowfully, but singing and shouting and praising God! If there's anything in this world we're supposed to be, it's a happy people, because we've got more to be happy about than anybody else in the world! We have the happy love of Jesus who takes all our burdens, carries all our cares, even lightens our sorrows; and even of our service for Him He says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and that it is the way of the transgressor that's hard! If you're finding His yoke too hard or the burden of His service too heavy to bear, then maybe you're transgressing by not obeying Him, not casting all your cares upon Jesus, for He careth for you. "Cast thy burden on the Lord and He shall sustain thee." You're trying to carry too much and pull too hard! Let go and let God! Let Jesus do it! Don't work so hard! Just let the Lord do it through you. Maybe you're trying too hard instead of letting God do it by His power‚ His love, His grace, and His strength! We're not the Christian Endeavour Union!—In other words, we're not "Christian Triers", but "Lord Letters"! For without Him we are nothing and can of our own selves do nothing!

8. SO QUIT TRYING SO HARD! LET GO AND LET GOD! TAKE it easy! Quit working so hard in your own strength! Quit taking yourself so seriously! Stop and praise the Lord and have a good laugh at your own weaknesses and ridiculous inabilities to do anything or accomplish anything for the Lord, knowing that if anything's going to get done, it's the Lord that's got to do it through you!

9. SO RELAX! QUIT TRYING SO HARD IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH! Smile! You're on candid camera—God's candid camera—and He wants you to be happy! Cheer up! Things could be a lot worse, and they probably will be, but why worry about it now! Fret not thyself for tomorrow! Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof! I heartily agree with the young man who wrote me recently that the children of God need to have more of a sense of humour, to be able to laugh at something funny, and mostly themselves‚ instead of, as he put it, practising with balls and chains and thumbscrews today so they'll be able to bear them tomorrow! That's not the way God does things! He doesn't make you try to practise suffering today what you're going to have to suffer tomorrow. He says‚ "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof!" You're not to add more to it in preparation for tomorrow, or to try to toughen yourself up for more evil tomorrow! But you're to enjoy today and take things as they come and let tomorrow take car of itself! As thy day, so shall thy strength be! God gives you power for the hour, grace for the trial—at the hour and when it comes—not before! So don't worry about it! When you're weak, then you're strong, and His strength is made perfect in your weakness. For His grace is sufficient for you, and He takes the weak things to confound the mighty and the foolish things to confound the wisdom of the wise. For He's not revealed these things unto the wise and prudent, but unto babes. You gotta be a baby! Look at you!—You are a baby! How ridiculous can you get!—A bunch of stupid, ignorant, unlearned‚ inexperienced, long-haired, long-bearded, long-robed‚ barefooted hippies!—The most despised people on the face of the earth trying to run around and save the world! But we're doing it!—Because He's doing it!

10. WE'RE ABOUT THE FUNNIEST SIGHT ON EARTH! That's why the people come out to see us, and the reporters to write about us and take pictures of us! We're so funny and different! "My people are a peculiar people!"—And we're downright crazy compared to the rest of the world! We're a real laugh‚ thinking we can save the world with a bunch of little kids with no theological education‚ no seminary degrees in theology and philosophy, no big fine church buildings, no billions of dollars in church property, no influential big wheels, no powerful denominational organisation, and no millions of church–goers every Sunday!

11. BUT WE'RE DOING IT!—AND THEY'RE NOT! WE'RE making news, and they're not! It must really look funny to the rest of the world! In fact‚ it makes the church people look absolutely ridiculous! If you think we're funny, look at the church people! They're the most ridiculous of all—going through the motions and building fine buildings and attending pretty little services for generations without accomplishing as much or making as much news or spreading the Good News as fast as we have in only a few months! If you want a real laugh, look at those dressed up church people sitting there doing nothing in their finery on Sunday morning but listening to the preacher's pusillanimous pious pulpit platitudes and sleeping to the tune of organ lullabies while the world burns and is hellbent for destruction and billions are eternally lost!

12. THE CHURCH TODAY IS A COMEDY OF ERRORS, and they'd be a real scream if they weren't such a tragedy! But the biggest joke of all is that when God couldn't get anybody else to do it, especially the church, He picked ridiculously funny‚ screamingly laughable, and insanely crazy little old you and me—the weakest of the weak, the lowest of the low: "those kids", those juvenile delinquents‚ those hippies everybody hated God chose to save the world! Now there's a real laugh that just cracks me up! I'm telling you, that's the funniest thing God ever did! That's the biggest joke of all: that He picked you and me to save the world! That's a real laugh, if you want a real belly-bumper! Those "dirty hippies", those "worthless bums", those "hopeless addicts"‚ those "horrible revolutionaries", those "red radicals"—those drunks, harlots, criminals, sinners, and little kids God has chosen to save the world in its last most desperate and dying hours! What a sense of humour God has! That oughtta cheer anybody up! If God can use us‚ He can use anybody, 'cause we're nobody, and you oughtta absolutely crack up laughing at yourself and how ridiculous you are instead of trying to be too sober and taking yourself too seriously. If He can use you and me, He could even use Balaam's ass!—And He did!—Or even cause the rocks to cry out—And He has! For He has raised up of these stones children unto Abraham! Hallelujah!

13. SO FOR GOD'S SAKE AND HIS WORK'S SAKE AND YOUR OWN SAKE AND ESPECIALLY FOR THE SAKE OF THOSE AROUND YOU, DON'T TRY SO HARD AND TAKE YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY! It's gotta be God or we'll never make it! That's why He picked us!—And that's why they marvel, beholding the man, and that it's only because we've been with Jesus that we can do these things! They know it's gotta be God! They know it's only Jesus! They know it's a miracle of God that has changed our lives from the fearful freaks we once were to the happy-go–Lordy Jesus freaks we are today!

14. SO WHY NOT HAVE A GOOD LAUGH AT YOURSELF AND ADMIT THAT IT'S GOD THAT'S DOING IT ALL THROUGH YOU! I once knew a dear old missionary who had evangelised the forbidden country of Tibet for twenty-five years, four years of it behind Communist lines‚ and I marvelled at his humility, his grace, and blithely cheerful spirit as he did dishes with me during our basic training when we were babes in our first Colony, and I thought what a great man he was and what a great work he had done and how famous he should have been, and yet here he was doing dishes with me for the rest of the kids. So I asked him a question which I considered he of all people ought to know, and since I was planning to be a missionary myself, I asked him: "What do you think a missionary needs the most?"—expecting some solemn and profound answer from his greatly superior and super wisdom and vast wealth of years of experience; so you can imagine how shocked I was when he said simply‚ pausing in the dishes with his hands in the sink and looking at me with a sly smile: "A sense of humour!—to be able to laugh when you feel like crying!" He said that, often, under the almost unbearable tension of the most frightening circumstances a good laugh nearly saved their lives and their nerves! After all, if you know the Lord's going to take care of it somehow, you can afford to smile and to laugh at how impossible the situation is, how ridiculous the circumstances, and you know God's gotta do a miracle! So why not laugh about it?

15. I REMEMBER WHAT A THRILL WE USED TO GET WHEN WE GOT DOWN TO OUR LAST PENNY, because we knew it was time for God to do a miracle, and we got so excited we could hardly wait, looking expectantly in this direction and that with the greatest of happy anticipation, wondering joyfully where it was going to come from and what unusual or different thing He was going to do this time to save us!—And sometimes it was really comical! Sometimes we'd find a bill in an old purse or the bottom of a drawer or a dollar lying in the street, or meet an old and unexpected friend who invited us to dinner and gave us a place to lay our heads for the night!

16. I CAN REMEMBER ONE TIME WHEN WE NEEDED A DIME FOR A QUART OF MILK FOR BREAKFAST, AND DIDN'T HAVE A PENNY, and my Mother said: "Don't worry, Children, the Lord will supply! Let's go for a walk before breakfast." And as we stood on the corner, a brand new dime literally fell out of the sky and tinkled to the sidewalk! We never could figure out how it got there or where it fell from or who dropped it‚ unless it was God Himself! What a joke!—How funny can you get, dropping dimes from the sky! Who else would run His Business that way? But God likes to do it differently and in many ways that to us are downright ridiculous, outlandishly funny, seemingly impossible, and outright laughable, just to show His Power, that He's not bound by conventions, traditions, customs, the System, or any kind of impossibilities! It's really funny the way God runs things, especially us! We're one great big joke to the rest of the world and they come to laugh at us, but sometimes wind up crying because they're not as happy as we are and because we're laughing louder than they are in our hearts and lives and happy service for the Lord!

17. IF THERE WAS EVER A SAINT WHO HAS ONE OF THE GREATEST SOUL WINNERS I EVER KNEW and who had some marvellous gifts of the Spirit and for whom God performed many mighty miracles, it was your Grandmother, my own Mother!—And yet she was one of the funniest women I ever knew, keeping us constantly in stitches and sometimes literally doubled up in laughter at some of her funny antics, peculiarities, absent-mindedness, and sense of humour! There was nothing she enjoyed as much as a good joke on herself! She used to say, "I guess God made me so funny just to show what He could do with someone as ridiculous as I am!" And sometimes, to give God all the glory, she would have us virtually rolling on the floor with laughter at some of her funny stories on herself and the crazy things she'd done absentmindedly. I often thought if any of us had been smart enough, we could have written down all those funny stories about that funny little old lady and they would have made a book that would have been a best seller! But that shows you how foolish we were that we didn't do it, because now we, her children, only have them in memory, and if I'd start telling them to you now‚ it would keep you laughing for hours! And we do have other things to do besides laugh! But for God's sake, laugh while you're doing them!! And most of all, like Grandmother, be able to laugh at yourself and a good joke on yourself, because you're the funniest thing God ever made, and you couldn't be any more ridiculous! So this ought to help keep you humble! As this young man who wrote to me about the need for some jokes in the newspaper said: "We need a little more humouriliation!"

18. HUMOUR CERTAINLY DOES HELP TO HUMBLE YOU! Nothing like the humiliation of a good joke on yourself to help keep us from getting so self-righteous and so super-sober and severely serious that we can't enjoy a good joke on ourselves and can't see how funny we are, how ridiculous we are, how nothing we are‚ and what a joke we are and what a good laugh God must get out of us and what He's doing with us and how He's shaking up the whole world through this little bunch of silly kids! What a joke! What a laugh we are!

19. FOR GOD'S SAKE, WHY DON'T YOU BREAK DOWN THAT STUPID SELF-RIGHTEOUS PRIDE OF YOURS AND LAUGH AT YOURSELF—at how ridiculous and foolish you are to think you can save the world, when it's only God that's doing it through you‚ showing that even the foolishness of God is greater that the wisdom of men and the Children of God greater than the parents of the Devil! Now there's real laugh—our enemies!—trying to fight God Himself in their own children! The Lord Himself shall laugh in the day of their calamity and shall have them in derision! Even our enemies are a laugh!—They're so foolish to think they can defeat God or His Children! Their very enmity and wrath brings praise to the Lord, news to the nations, and spreads the Gospel even through their contention—and nevertheless Christ is preached! Hallelujah! Have a good laugh at all your troubles! It'll do you good, and it'll do God good, because it'll show Him you're not worried but you're still trusting Him! Praise the Lord!

20. HAVE YOU HAD SOMETHING FUNNY HAPPEN AT YOUR COLONY? Have you got a good joke on yourself, or has a good laugh saved the day in a difficult situation? Why not tell us about it? Send it in to us! Or if you know of a good joke that has real meaning for us and will give us a good laugh at ourselves or our situation, mail it in today!

21. WE ALL NEED A GOOD LAUGH! Have a sense of humour! Keep humble with good humour! Laugh at yourself! God bless the young man who first wrote us about this! I heartily agree with you‚ Son! Just don't let's overdo it, as there's a time for everything, as you pointed out. There's a time to laugh, and a time to weep—a time for everything. But let's always be able to smile through our tearsa ray of sunshine is even more beautiful in the midst of rain. Let's have a little more sunshine and laughter and not so much gloom and doom! Instead of giving them so much Hell, let's give them a little more Heaven! "Laugh and the world will laugh with you!—Cry, and you'll cry alone!"

22. THE WORLD KNOWS ENOUGH HELL! Let's show them a little more Heaven"Love and laughter and peace ever after", and that today you can be free! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Amen? Let's have some Holy Laughter! Laugh in the Spirit! Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is you reward in Heaven!

23. AND IF YOU WANT SOMETHING REALLY FUNNY, CONSIDER ME! I'm the funniest thing in the whole Revolution!—And just to show you how funny the Lord can be and how happy He wants us to be‚ the other night I got this funny little song in the Spirit! Apparently‚ It's a happy little folksong of my Nordic ancestors, although I never remember hearing it before! But it came forth jubilantly under the influence of the Spirit with a merry little tune which I hope someone can write out the notes for you. She said I first sang it merrily in tongues‚ and then she begged for the interpretation!—And this is what immediately came forth fluently and without hesitation, which was also sung with the same light-hearted tune! It came with pictures of a happy young man riding his horse playfully and joyously across the hills through fields of flowers and through the beautiful woods of Scandinavia in the Springtime. The rhythm is exactly that of a galloping horse!

24. AS YOU WILL NOTE, NOT EVERY SONG OF THE SPIRIT HAS TO BE SO SUPER SANCTIMONIOUS, SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS, but can be just a happy song about the joys of living and the enjoyment of God's creation and His life of love! Here's the little song:


You gallop over the hills and through the dales,

Through the fields of flowers and trees.

You drink of the waters of the brooks and the rills.

And be so happy!

You ride up the hills and down the dales,

And over the mountains and through the trails.

You gather the flowers and give them in tales.

And be so happy!

You ride on your horse across the seas‚

And you ride on your horse wherever you please.

You ride on your as free as a breeze.

And be so happy!

You ride to the town and there she is,

You ride like a clown to where she is.

You ride on her frame and she likes this.

She's so happy!

You get off your horse and take you ease,

You lie in the grass and do as you please.

You love your sweet girl and give her a squeeze,

And be so happy!

25. JUST A CRAZY LITTLE LOVE SONG, AS YOU CAN SEE! So let's be happy! Amen? Or maybe you'd rather be stubborn and contrary like old Jenny the Mule: After a Sunday of "No's" and "Don'ts" at his long-faced, churchbound, super-strict Grandfather's where he wasn't allowed to play on Sunday, poor little Johnny wandered wistfully out to the barnyard and stroked Jenny's long nose‚ saying, "Dear Jenny, you must be awfully religious, you have such a long face, just like Grandfather's!—That's the churches' idea of religion!—Please don't let it be ours!