Two unrelated targets of jokes among some preachers are deacons and mothers-in-law. It is unfortunate that these two important people can be the brunt of humor. Preachers must always be careful about telling jokes particularly at someone’s expense. A new church seems to always have difficulty acquiring deacons and to diminish this important role will only solidify that no one wants to accept this responsibility. The basic requirements of being married only once to the same wife, being faithful to the church and having his house in order limit a new church to only a few, if any, possibilities to fill this Biblical role. “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 3:8-13
Deacons can and should fill a very important part in the church and their office should be highly respected. They are servants to the church as well as the pastor and serve an essential role. Godly deacons are key leaders in the church that can set an example of faithful service that others may follow. If deacons do not serve well or are unqualified it is a reflection upon the pastor and his failure to teach them properly. To make fun of deacons is to make fun of himself and his inadequacy of teaching leaders. New churches must be patient to watch and prepare qualified men for this important role. When men are appointed to this position their example of service and faithfulness should be a testimony to all the church family and they can be a great help to the pastor.
Mothers-in-law have been the brunt of many jokes. I’m sure that there are mothers-in-law that interfere into the affairs of their children and are known to be busybodies. However most of them I’ve known have been faithful godly women. Their role is an important one because they can influence their grandchildren and set an example of godliness. Many times their role reflects that of the Proverbs thirty-one woman. Christmas gifts and birthday presents are normal fare for a grandmother. But most important of all are their prayers. To make fun of them is to lack respect and appreciation for the important role in which they serve.
How would a mother-in-law feel sitting in the church service and being the brunt of unfounded ridicule? Probably not good. Godly women in general should be exalted and their role in their family should be praised.
I suppose every young preacher is vulnerable to hear another preacher make statements including jokes that sound cute but are inappropriate. Young men must be careful what they say from the pulpit particularly about those that serve in important roles in the family and in the church. Deacons and mothers-in-law are great people that should be admired.