Recently I was watching an episode of David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction featuring Jerry Seinfeld. As someone who grew up watching both these comedic giants, I found it fascinating to hear their perspectives on life and comedy, particularly what motivated them to do what they do (entertain people). During the interview, Seinfeld made the point that comedians are “giving something to people that makes them happy.” They (comedians) have been given the gift of making people laugh, and the sharing of this gift is described by Seinfeld as a “generous pursuit”. Both comedians talk about how gratifying it is to see people laugh and how strong a motivation this is for them personally.
Listening to Seinfeld talk about happiness caused me to think about the deepest source of joy – knowing God – and how it is truly a generous gift to share this joy with others. There is a deep ache in every human heart that longs to be satisfied (Eccl. 3:11). The shorter Westminster Catechism, written in the 17th century, states that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” John Piper modified this statement by stating that we glorify God by enjoying Him. God wants us to enjoy Him! When we’ve personally experienced the deep joy and satisfaction that comes from knowing God – when we’ve tasted and seen that He is good – we naturally want others to experience that same joy. The most generous and loving thing we can do for someone is introduce them to the God that we know, to point them to the only Source of true happiness.
If Seinfeld gets excited about the possibility of making people happy through a comedy sketch, how much more should I be motivated to share the only source of lasting happiness with those who have yet to experience it? Laughter – along with every good gift – comes from the God who designed us to enjoy Him in the context of a relationship. May we go toward the Giver more than the gift.