The Little Things That Delight a Weary Preacher


Humor refreshes me. You too?

I like finding signs with misprints. The sign in front of a local neighborhood center announced: "A DULT DANCE—Thursday 7 pm." It was repeated just like that on the other side.

I read that and wondered, "What is a dult? And why are they invited to the dance and no one else?"

In a book, this misprint gave me a chuckle: "They are up there hugging one anther." Someone had written underneath, "I'll hug an anther. Show me one."

This brings to mind a bit of graffiti observed on a New York subway. Someone had scrawled on a poster, "I love grils." Underneath, another had written: "I love girls." And beneath that, a third person had penned: "What about us grils?"

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In Reform, Alabama, after the Sunday morning church service, we were in line for lunch in the fellowship hall when a man gave me one of the best cartoon lines ever. He remarked to a friend, "I told my wife, 'I'm coming back this afternoon and see if I want to sleep on this pew as bad as I think I do!'"

A critic said, "Reverend Jones' sermons have too many points. Pastor Smith's sermons are pointless." You just can't please some people.

The following bit of silliness embodies some of my peeves. It's not funny so much as vexing. ...

Have You Ever Noticed?

– that the cheaper the preacher's doctorate, the more gaudily he displays it?

– that the better prepared a sermon is, the less time it takes to deliver?

– that the better educated a pastor is, the less he calls attention to his qualifications?

– that the more effectively someone prays, the less they mention how long they pray?

– the better informed church members are, the less they tend to argue. Or put another way, the less they know, the more they insist that what little they do know is "the" truth.

– the more a preacher mutilates the rules of good grammar, the more some will love his preaching.

– the bigger a car the guest preacher drives, the better offering the members will give him. (An evangelist told me this is true.)

– the meaner a preacher is from the pulpit, the more some people are convinced this is old-fashioned prophetic preaching against sin.

– the sillier a pastor is in his preaching, the more some think he's doing that to attract young people and that the youth really like it. The young people I know are more discerning than that. While they may laugh at the pastor's antics, they lose respect for him.

– the less a pastor reads the newspaper and keeps up with world events, the more some members will insist he is preaching only the pure word of God. If he never uses an illustration or tells a story, they will praise him for his great expository preaching. (They do this, in spite of Mark 4:34 telling us Jesus never preached without stories or Luke 13:1-5 where Jesus refers to current events; these people would not like Jesus' preaching!)

– if the pastor's sermon has three points and all begin with the same letter of the alphabet, there's not a pulpit committee on earth that can resist him.

– the Sunday the pastor ends a series on a Bible book and drops in a topical sermon, some first-time visitor will decide not to return because 'we like expository preaching.' (Yep, I had this happen.)

– the very week the pastor is planning to preach on tithing, someone will brag on him publicly for not always harping on money.

– and lastly, have you ever noticed that when a man spends a half-century in the ministry, he starts making grand pronouncements like these!!!

Guilty, your honor.

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Joe McKeever is retired from the pastorate but still active in preaching, writing and cartooning for Christian publications. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

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