Unless you’ve been visiting a galaxy far, far away for the past week, you have no doubt felt a disturbance in the force. All the brouhaha started when Candance Payne, affectionately known as "Chewbacca Mom" innocently laughed her way into social media history. You could even say, "the force is strong with this one." The proof is in the over 176 million shares on Facebook alone. Just in case you haven’t seen it, you can view it here.
As I watched the video of Ms. Payne belly laughing like a giddy, school-aged kid, I found myself laughing along with her. The more she laughed, the more I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. Her sidesplitting laughter at the simplicity of seeing herself in a growling Chewbacca mask was infectious.
Why? Why did this simple video go viral and touch so many lives? I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do have a Jedi mind thought.
Too serious, we are.
Seriously. Think about how American culture views Christians. Survey after survey shows the current culture views Christians as judgmental, critical, uptight and self-righteous prudes. Who can blame them? We consistently tell people what they can’t do and how bad their sin is, instead of telling them what greatness they were created for. We should spend more time calling men UP into authentic manhood rather then call them OUT of their sin. Quit being so offended by people who don’t adhere to the same belief system as you. We’ll never condemn men to greatness. We can however call up their God given purpose if we’ll take time see them how God sees them.
However, there's another side. In the pursuit of happiness many have found hopelessness. It's the journey with no end. Who knows what constitutes happiness? Everyone has suggestions but substantive answers last as long as the next fad or until the hot new gadget comes out. We have bought into the lie that happiness is obtainable if we only had money, a car that actually runs, a bigger house, a wife or no wife and the right president in office. Then through some magical metamorphosis our problems would turn into our particular definition of happiness.
Learn this lesson as quickly as possible: happiness promises you everything but delivers nothing. It’s a counterfeit to inner joy and peace. Nevertheless, like a mouse on a stationary wheel, we keep going round and round hoping it takes us to a different place.
So if the pursuit of happiness is fruitless, where can we find lasting joy and peace?Romans 12:11-13 says:
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
As I talk with men all over the world, there is a common thread that has unraveled from the cord of manhood; men have lost hope. I understand it’s hard to have real joy when you feel all hope is lost. When hope is lost, heaviness takes its place. Where there’s heaviness, laughter is as obscure as a Guiana Cock-of-the-rock.
If we maintain the proper perspective, we have more reason to be joyful than any people on the planet. As our hope is not in this world, but the world to come. Titus 2:12-14 says:
"It teaches us to say NO to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Since every material possession will fade away, we should live with eternity in the horizon.
Let’s live a life that seems mysterious to those who have yet to believe in Christ. Let them be puzzled by the inner joy we possess as we withstand the storms of life. Let them examine our imperfect lives and be perplexed by the hope we carry deep in us. As Colossians 1:27 says:
"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Fear Not: Fight Well. (and smile along the way)
JT McCraw is the men’s pastor at Bethel World Outreach in Brentwood, TN and the founder of the BE MEN Movement, where he provides oversight for this multi-ethnic, multi-site men’s ministry, focusing on engaging and equipping men to serve Christ. Presently they have locations in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, Alabama and Arizona. JT lives in Franklin, TN with his wife of twenty-four years and their five children. You can follow JT on Twitter @.