You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover1 Samuel 16: 6-7
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.”[a] 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
We have all heard a story of a person being disrespected or mistreated because of their outward appearance. There are others that admire certain people or things because of their beauty. We are all taught from a very young age that looks can be deceiving. But, the way things appear, the way someone or something looks is many times our first and only judgement.
In the story from Samuel, he looks at Eliab and knows immediately that this is the Lord’s chosen. This is based on the fact that Eliab is apparently a handsome, tall man. But we see quickly that the Lord isn’t looking at our appearance, but looking at our heart. David, the youngest son of Jesse, is handsome but thought to be the runt of the family. Yet this is God’s anointed, not because of his stature, but because of what is in his heart.
How often do we look away from people that are dirty, and disheveled, the “runts” of the town or community? Some may stop and offer assistance, but unfortunately many of us pass by hoping that nothing will be said. Changing this behavior is difficult, but if we listen for God he will lead us in the right direction just as he did with Samuel.
Recently I noticed a new commercial on television. A young boy is getting snacks from the kitchen. His mother asks, “Where are you going?”. He responds, “I am going to have a snack with God”. The mother smiles and says OK as the boy runs out the door headed for the park.
The scene changes to the boy walking through the park, passing people playing with animals, or throwing a ball when he notices a lone woman sitting on a bench. The boy sits for a while, and eventually they begin to chat. Satisfied, the boy opens his bag and removes the snacks and shares with the woman.
When it is time to go home, the boy gives the woman a hug and says goodbye. The scene changes again, and the woman is sitting down in a shelter for a meal. Another woman asks, “What did you do today?”. The answer was I had a snack with God in the park!
Most of our encounters with God are probably not going to be this easy. Many times we need to look and listen very closely to be sure we receive the messages he is trying to send. But, as long as we keep God in our heart he will show us the way.
Lord, Help us to always see through to the heart of others. Do not let appearances be a distraction that prevents sharing your grace with another. Let your light shine through us that others may know your love!