“He is bigger, faster, stronger.” Nowhere is this more evident than the elementary school playground. We measure ourselves in pick-up games of kickball or tag. How high can we swing? Can we do the monkey bars?
It doesn’t stop there. It continues in the classroom. “I’m not good at math. I don’t want to read aloud. Her picture is so much better than mine.” Through Middle School and High School when looks become more important, even into the boardroom as we leverage power in a conversation.
This is not a new phenomenon. Centuries ago, God sends his prophet to a small town to find a king. To the home of a man named Jesse. The prophet Samuel stands before the oldest son and thinks to himself, “This guy is the package! He’s tall and strong and handsome. He talks with an air of authority. People will follow him! Bingo! Job well done!”
But God had other ideas…
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – I Samuel 16:7
One by one the Lord rejects seven of Jesse’s sons until finally Samuel is asking, “Don’t you have any more sons?” Jesse is confused but tells him that the runt is in the field tending sheep. So, they send for him and wait. And wait. Did he bathe before appearing before Samuel? Hmmm…(random thought, I know.)
David finally shows up.
“He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”” – I Samuel 16:12
What would God see if he looked in our hearts? Are we so consumed with outward appearances or qualities or talents that we neglect our hearts?
Over two decades ago, a Bible study leader challenged 20-year-old college students, “Do you spend more time on your outside than your inside? Do you invest more in your appearance than your relationship with God?”
Do we spend more time cultivating our heart? Building compassion, kindness, forgiveness, integrity? Do we celebrate with others when they succeed? Do we encourage them when they don’t? Do we bravely face life’s circumstances knowing there is something deeper at stake?
Do we? Do you?