[Papercut Press Publishing] 1999-05-10 - My, You Look so Elephantine Tonight

Matthew 23:25,26 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also."

They needed a stage that could hold 5000 pounds for this particular beauty pageant in Nakorn Pathom, Thailand. The winner, who weighed in at just under 200 pounds, was a 22 year old Pharmacy student. The judges thought her to be the, "best display of the grace, elegance and enormity of the elephant."

Let us make it clear that winning this pageant was a great accomplishment. The elephant is highly venerated in Thailand. Elephants are not overweight, simply big. So to win the title of Jumbo Queen 1999 was an honor and not an embarrassment.

We pay a lot of attention to looks and externals in our culture, but Scripture does not. We often look at the outside, but God looks at the heart. (Jeremiah 17:10) I say this to our shame. It is one of the sad aspect of our fallen sin nature that we place so much weight, emphasis and consideration upon what people look like and the appearances they put on.

God searches our hearts (1 Chronicles 28:9), He knows (Psalm 44:21), examines (Jeremiah 23:3), and enlightens us through our hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:6) It is in this area, again, that we must seek to have the mind of God in our dealings with others.

Our propensity is to look on the outside and the loveliness, wealth, position, or beauty of the person. This inclination is, within us, masked selfishness. It fails to look at who the person is, but rather focuses upon how we look to others when we are around someone with the desired external magnetism that the world loves to esteem.

The words of King David to his son Solomon regard the heart. "If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel." (1 Kings 2:4) The focus, and the promise of blessing from God was much different than that which we are prone to emphasize. The focus is upon the heart, the inside of man. And it is here that the real person is found. It is here that real beauty, and enchanting charm, and vast wealth is found.

Is the inside of the cup clean? This is the question we should be asking when we look at those whom we come it contact. The externals can be manipulated to fool us, but the real person is found when we dive deep and get to know the person of the heart. May God give us the wisdom and understanding to do so.

"Beauty unaccompanied by virtue is a flower without perfume." Thomas Adams.

Soli Deo Gloria,