Before you get the wrong idea, I confess that I needed a catchy title to get your attention this evening. But that doesn’t detract from the message I have planned. My mother always told me that taking care of my teeth should be one of my highest priorities. And in a minute, you’ll see how that plays into tonight’s story.
To cut to the chase, I was speaking with a dear friend of mine earlier today and he shared with me that he is having some issues with his legs and has elected to finally have something done about the problem. In February, he will have to have veins removed from each of his legs in an effort to reduce the considerable discomfort that he is in much of the time. I have known folks who have gone through this procedure for cosmetic reasons, but this is a case where eliminating pain is the object of the work to be done. As I already mentioned, I know people who have done this, so I realize that he will have a recovery period during which he will be quite uncomfortable. We talked about all this for several minutes and then I shared with him one of my issues as well.
Later this spring, perhaps in February or March, although I think it may wait until April, I have to have a number of crowns replaced. You see, I have unusually small teeth and back in 1992, there was a medical necessity for me to have all but eight of my teeth fitted with crowns. And those that didn’t need crowns had to have veneers installed to protect the centers of my deteriorating chompers. Well, it’s 22 years later and all those crowns have reached the limits of their longevity.
Unfortunately, they all have to be re-done, and all the veneers will be replaced with crowns as well. It will be at least 4 sessions at the dentist – averaging 3-4 hours each. I won’t even speak about price – but I have been assured that no matter how long I live, I shouldn’t have to go through this procedure again. Believe me, once was enough, twice should be a lifetime limit!
Anyway, back to the story. My friend and I were discussing our various health issues and he started laughing, acknowledging that when it’s all over, between the two of us, we’d have “great legs and good teeth”. Of course, that reminded me of the Bible and how God expects us to approach Him. Many people believe that we have to wear our finest stuff – dressing to the hilt and making sure that our outward appearance is pleasing. But I think that God had another thought in mind when he talked about the Lord’s Supper and how we should prepare our hearts. We are told to make sure that we “examine ourselves” and I think that means on the inside – not necessarily on the the outside.
Our hearts must be right with our brothers and sisters in Christ and we must make sure that we are in the correct mental and emotional posture to share the Lord’s Supper. Sure, it’s great to be dressed up – but that’s not the point. Christ is far more concerned how we are on the inside rather than how we appear on the outside. In deference to my schoolmates who discussed this verse at length back in my seminary days, the verse for this evening comes from Paul and his first letter to the Corinthians. We are told, in 1 Cor. 11:28-29 (KJV), “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” The NIV makes it a little easier to understand, “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. ”
My encouragement this evening is that God loves you regardless of how you are dressed, how great your legs are or how good your teeth look. He is concerned with how your heart looks and He is the only one who can truly see the condition of your heart. My prayer is that you will respect your fellow man and honor God by making sure your attitude and posture of prayer and worship are in alignment with God’s desires. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…