george hancockstefanI rarely find myself in these types of discussions, but there I was, listening to how we can look better. I, being of Latin background and also first born in my family, cannot remember ever having a low opinion of myself. In fact, in one of those deprecatory comments that only a mother could make, my mother told me that I am not Robert Redford (using a Romanian equivalent that she was familiar with).

So here was I, listening to how I can look in the mirror and like myself better. The first thing to fix was my eyes. I can have some eye lid lifting because they are sagging and even my children said sometimes they cannot see my eyes. Next thing was to have a chin lift. The chin lift depends on whether you a double chin or a triple chin. Until that discussion, I did not look at such things. I liked my chin. I even patted it from time to time. It did not give me any problems, even when I was shaving it. It, being attached to the rest of my neck, needed some space because my shirts were getting too tight.

I grew more intent on listening to this presentation and I tried to figure out which of my friends I should approach for some professional price reduction. After all, I know a couple of plastic surgeons and they could help me with this stuff. I even tried to figure out how I should present this request to my wife (the family accountant) without being considered totally vain and having her quote me some verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes (KJV 12:8) – vanity, everything is vanity (especially when it comes from husbands).

Then, the discussion moved to my belly. I knew that this area demanded an enormous amount of lifting. What I have was not an overnight development! I remember with horror the day when a salesman in the clothing department told me that I no longer can shop in the athletic department. Ever since that day, I accumulated from the fat of the land. I enjoyed almost every baked good that I came across – both personally and professionally. Personally, because I really like sweets, cakes, and chocolates, and professionally, because as a pastor/professor it is improper to refuse what the congregation/students offer to you. The lifting of this belly will take too long, it will cost too much, and I am not sure that I will have a deeper liking of myself!

However, during this discussion, I remembered two other discussions. One was my last visit with my cardiologist who said to me, “I am not going to tell you what you need to do, because I consider you a very smart person and you know what you must do.” In his must do list, there was no recommendation for any of these medical liftings, but for lower/smaller liftings to my mouth.

The other conversation I had at the door of one church in the Midwest after I preached on the resurrection body. A young lady came to me and said, “Is there a possibility that I can pray for God to give me a totally different body, because I do not like anything about the body that I have.” I was shocked because I considered this young lady very beautiful. Yet, one person or more than one, told her that she does not look good, that God the Creator did not give her a good, beautiful body, and she disliked herself and was afraid that if God will give her this body in heaven she will eternally dislike herself.

This body I was given, I have used and abused, cherished and praised. God loves these human bodies and sent Jesus Christ to become one of us – fully divine and fully human. God has made me responsible not only for His creation, but also for my body and to declare His infinite love for it. He has made it one of His temples for all eternity, and loves it even on the days I may not.