Everyone loves a good joke. Well, almost everyone. The people who don’t like jokes usually are the people who are the brunt of jokes — those whose identities are made into punch lines. And after the story is told, they are the ones who others are laughing at — not laughing with.
Have you felt like that? Have you ever felt like people spend more time laughing at you than with you? Have you thought if your story were made into a movie, it would be a comedy with audiences around the world laughing in unison to your mistakes, failures or shortcomings?
In the book of Judges, we find a great comedy story: hilarious characters, bathroom humor and an awkward hero. Ehud, the second of Israelite deliverers, is handpicked by God to save His people. He sneaks into the evil, fat king’s lair with a weapon concealed in a precarious position. He assassinates the king in the royal bathroom, escapes though the castle, tricks the king’s guard, and makes it back home before dawn. It is a great story. Read it in Judges 3:12-30.
Here is the punch line — Ehud was a freak. Not only was he a descendant of the youngest of Abraham’s children, but Ehud had a rare birth defect that the author of Judges uses as his sole descriptor. The Bible does not mention any other characteristics about Ehud. It doesn’t describe his skill with a sword or his conquests over other enemies. It doesn’t mention his height, weight or highest level of education. All it says is, “Ehud, a left-handed man…” (Judges 3:15)
Being left-handed is rare (about one-tenth of the population). I wonder how many times before Ehud became Israel’s savior was he made fun of because of being left-handed. How many times did his brothers make him sit at another table because his elbows wouldn’t fit? How often did the local teacher tell him to write like other kids? How often did his friends point fun at his throwing motion or the way he swung a shovel? Ehud could have used this characteristic as an excuse. But God needed a savior for His people, he chose Ehud and Ehud’s left hand. His left-handedness allowed Ehud to sneak past the checkpoint and into the throne room of the king. His left hand had brought him so much ridicule, but now it was the hand that was saving Israel.
Shane Bengry is the lead pastor of John Wesley Free Methodist Church in Indianapolis.
DISCUSSION: So what’s your joke? What do people laugh at? How are you the brunt of other people’s fun?  How might God change your problem into a problem-solver? How might your issue become the thing that helps communicate God’s story to others? Where might God turn the joke around and use your misery for ministry? 0