Lessons From The Dentist’s Chair (Part 1)
This past week I experienced quite the oral ordeal. It had been years since I had been to see a dentist, but after experiencing pain in my teeth recently, I felt like I had better rectify that fact. I went in Tuesday afternoon, had an exam and X-rays, and confirmed what I already suspected: my wisdom teeth were at the root of my pain (pun!) and needed to be removed. But I also discovered that (confession time) a lack of flossing on my part had led to the beginning stages of gingivitis & gum disease.
Those revelations led to a Wednesday marathon of dental work: in the morning the dental hygienist numbed the entire right side of my mouth and performed a procedure to eradicate the gingivitis underneath my gums. Then in the afternoon the dentist removed my two right wisdom teeth, localizing the day’s work to the same side of my mouth. This whole process will have to be repeated in a month on the left side.
That being said, I couldn’t help but reflect on several spiritual truths that God was teaching me during the course of my stay in the dentist’s chair.
The initial thoughts that passed through my mind during this process was how much I had taken my mouth for granted. That sounds like a strange statement, but follow me on this one. It occurs to me that as someone who is trying to serve God as a missionary and go tell others the Gospel message, I rarely give the primary tool in that endeavor the proper usage or care. Romans 10 discusses how people can’t take action and commit their lives to the Lordship of Jesus unless they first hear the message from us. And how will they hear unless we verbally tell them of what we have come to know through the personal, individual involvement of God actively in our own lives? In other words, we have to open our mouths and say something. Sadly, for most Christians (myself included), this occurs far too infrequently, wasting away our Christ-influence as if we were mute.
That is not to say that our actions don’t speak loudly for themselves; we need to live out a life of sold-out radical devotion to Jesus. But an imbalance between actions and words is self-defeating, whether it is living out the Word and not sharing it, or boldly preaching what we are failing to practice. I fail, we fail, to honor God with the lack of vocal assertions demonstrating our affectionate worship, and we fail to be good stewards of our greatest asset in this endeavor – our mouths!
I’ve decided to no longer take the proper care of my mouth for granted, but even view my extensive brushing, flossing, and cleaning of my teeth as an act of utmost God-focus, maintaining my God-given tool for the proclamation of His Son’s glory. Paul sums it up best in the aforementioned passage: The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.
Do you struggle to take the proper care of your mouth through brushing and flossing? Do you agree with my assessment of the worship-aspects of good teeth maintenance or am I over-exaggerating the need for a healthy mouth? How often do you utilize your mouth in sharing about Jesus?