How NOT to Break Bread
The Lord’s Supper is precious – both to the Lord and to the believer. Most of what I have learned about the person of Christ, His peerless character, and priestly work on the cross I have learned during that joyous hour we call the breaking of bread.
The bread and cup re-fix my eyes on the Lord better than any sermon can ever do, re-anchoring my heart on the hope-filled empty tomb. From time to time, it is helpful to examine how we approach this meeting to make sure we remember and worship the Lord in an optimal way.
Whenever I attend a funeral, it always helps me appreciate the breaking of bread meeting in a greater way. During the eulogy someone speaks lovingly about the person who died and how that person specifically blessed them in the way they led their life. Never have I heard someone stand up at a funeral and talk about themselves.
How is it then, brothers, some stand up at the breaking of bread and speak about what they have done for Him in witnessing or work? These things, though good, do not reflect on the Lord but on our own service for Him.
For the Lord’s glory
We should filter our thoughts. Only those thoughts that reveal, remember or refine our understanding of His character and work should receive “air time” at the meeting. All other thoughts should be kept to ourselves. The Holy Spirit seeks to glorify Christ (John 16:14) not us.
When we speak at the Lord’s Supper, we influence and direct the worship of the entire congregation and should be careful not to disrupt the incense of adoration being raised up to the Lord. Before we share we should ask ourselves: does this reveal something about His character? Does this cause us to remember or revisit what He did for us? How does this refine our understanding of Him?
It’s not about us
Whenever I attend a wedding, it also helps me appreciate the meaning of the breaking of bread in a greater way. The best man’s speech is always focused on the groom, never on anyone or anything else. The best man speaks of the groom’s qualities – his loyalty, his selflessness, his humility, etc. The best man does not speak about what he has done for the groom.
To center our attention directly on the groom is the best man’s job, to heighten our appreciation and evaluation of him, and to reveal things about him that we may not have known or have forgotten. The best man does not speak about other interesting things, facts about history, or his own personal interests, which only serve to take the focus off the all-important groom, but solely on the bridegroom’s glory. After all, it’s his day not ours.
Why and how we worship
We ought to ask ourselves from time to time why we worship and how we worship. This too will help us when we come to remember the Lord through the bread and wine. I submit to you that we worship the Lord when we realize, remember or revisit something beautiful about Him. By beautiful, I mean something morally beautiful, as in the beauty of His person, work or character.
For example, we should talk about how the Lord manifested His love for individuals, whether at the cross or throughout His life. We should direct one another to gaze upon His gentleness or humility. Together we should explore why and how He did things and, like attendees at a funeral or a wedding, we should discover afresh the reasons why we love Him so. Our hearts will be drawn out in worship as we see Him as He is.
Our estimation of the Lord
Perhaps an illustration will help. Imagine I revealed to you that brother so-and-so in your meeting five months ago ran into a burning building to save a man who was trapped inside. This man in your meeting saved another man’s life at great risk to his own. Naturally, upon hearing this, your estimation of this man will begin to rise.
Upon closer examination, you learn that the man who was saved from the fire had been a great cause of grief and insult to the man who had saved him from the fire – yet he still ran into the building to save him! This revelation should cause your heart’s estimation of this brother to rise even higher.
It’s not about others
But we do not attend the breaking of bread to examine the lives of our brothers or sisters. We are there to examine and remember the life of our Lord. Our Lord is the one who entered the burning building, who not only risked His life but gave it up to save us all.
As we explore, and re-explore, what He did for us, our hearts will naturally be drawn out to worship Him. That is how we worship. That is why we should not talk about anything else but Him at the breaking of bread.
It’s not a time for teaching
So, brothers, we must not stand up at the breaking of bread and speak about the prophetical program of Israel. We must not speak about why Pretribulationalism is true and Amillenialism is wrong. These topics, though good in themselves, interrupt and steal away our thoughts from dwelling upon the Lord’s character and person.
No time should be spent reflecting upon the unworthiness and failures of the Apostles or ourselves. Let us rather reflect upon the worthiness and strengths of Christ. We must not dwell upon the life lessons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or David and Daniel, though we have much to learn from them. We must be directed beyond these earthly figures to the One they represent.
Show us Christ!
The next time you stand at the breaking of bread meeting leading in worship, tell us something about Christ. Show us an aspect of His character. Thank Him for something He has done for us. Remind us of who He is. With more diligence and dignity than he who eulogizes, speak warmly and fondly of the One who died for us.
Direct our hearts to worship His admirable qualities, and center our attention on His glorious grace. Like a best man who gives a speech at a wedding, speak about the One whom our souls love.