Bill Hybels (pastor of the Willow Creek megachurch in Chicago) told a humorous, tongue-in-cheek account of his exploits last year in preparing the family’s annual Thanksgiving Day turkey. He had volunteered to do so and went through elaborate steps of preparing all the details, even down to doing a trial test run 3 days earlier on a practice turkey. He elected to do something a bit unusual with the turkey and grill it outside on the gas grill. He spoke at length of the power of the grill (laughingly noting that it had sufficient power to fly a jet plane) and indicated that it was hooked directly to the house’s gas lines. The turkey turned out to be a wonderful success and everyone enjoyed the meal. Hybels graciously declined an invitation from the family to do an encore at Christmas time last year. In January, he had a fellow over doing some yard work who asked Hybels what he had grilled out the previous evening as he discovered that the gas grill was still warm. Hybels told him that he hadn’t cooked anything out the night before, nor even earlier that week. Further investigation revealed that two of the grill’s burners had been left on since the famous Thanksgiving Day turkey was prepared. Hybels said that it proved to be the most expensive turkey they had ever eaten and that he was the real turkey.
I appreciated the fact that this well-known and respected pastor could poke some fun at himself and laugh at his own misadventures. I’m convinced that most of us take ourselves far too seriously and could benefit from a good dose of humility-inducing, self-deprecating humor. Of course there will be times that our mistakes produce painful consequences that we cannot rapidly dismiss with a good round of laughter. Nevertheless, the ability to laugh at ourselves and our own ineptness is sound medicine for our souls. Trying to serve as the world’s CEO isn’t anyone’s God-given calling or assignment. He already has that title securely locked up.