“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
When I was a kid, I hated my freckles. I actually tried to scrub them off with soap and water many times. I was also very skinny and taller than almost everyone in my class, including the boys. In the eighth grade, I acquired the nickname “bird legs”, which I tried to act like didn’t bother me. But it did. My parents told me that, one day, I would appreciate my height and my bird-like legs. Ha! Not a chance, I thought. Last but not least, I inherited my grandfather’s large ears, so I tried to never wear my hair in a ponytail. However, being a cheerleader for 5 years proved this feat highly difficult. I would pray to God every night for Him to change these things about my body that I did not like. Now that I’m in my forties, I can look back and see how those changes have taken place. While my freckles have faded and I actually do appreciate my height and bird-like legs, my ears grew right along with everything else. They’re still quite large, at least to me. Well, two out of three isn’t a bad ratio, right?
Actually, only one of those three actually had a physical change. The other two changed in my heart. How much emphasis do we, especially as entitled Americans, put on the perfection of our physical body? Just look at the beauty industry. From plastic surgery all the way down to a daily skin care routine and everything in between, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. All of this time, attention and money are being spent on how we look on the outside when at the same time we are taking prayer and the Bible out of our schools and all public places. Many of us are upset about this, but how many of us are filling those voids in our lives and the lives of our children by purposefully taking the time to pray and read scripture in our homes every day. What if you added up what you spent in one month on beauty products and the like, and then spent the equivalent on spiritually-based books, feeding the needy in your community or even saving that amount to go on a summer mission trip with your children? While there is nothing wrong with paying attention to our outward appearance (God made us in His image as Genesis 1:26 says), our heart should be our first priority. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Proverbs 27:19 says, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” It doesn’t take long to see what is most important to someone. What are you spending your time, money and effort reflecting?
My ears may be the first things you see when you first meet me, but I hope soon after that you forget those ears and see me for what I am trying to reflect – the heart of God. Have a purposeful week!