Back in the summer of 1989, I had been a police officer in Macon Georgia for a couple years. One day I went in one of the major grocery chains to make a purchase. I was off duty so I was wearing my usual worn jeans and most likely a t-shirt. While I was walking through the store, I noticed I was being watched closely by one of the store employees. Every time I looked, I saw him on the same aisle as I was, watching me. I didn’t get upset because that’s how some people in the country I love handles people such as myself. I made my purchase and left.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
A few weeks later, I had to go back to the store and buy something else. This store was closer to where I lived at the time, so it was convenient. This time, I had just gone into off-duty status so I was in my police uniform. When I went inside the store, I was met with a bunch of; “Hello Officers” and admiring glances from the same employees who deemed me as a threat a few weeks ago. This is one of the many experiences God seemed to be bringing back to my memory whenever I was studying His word, the Bible.
I’m sharing this portion of my life because 1 Samuel 16:7, which was written long before I came into existence, addresses this issue. It’s not only an issue with dealing with people, it’s also an issue dealing with God.
I was judged to be a shoplifter when I went to the store the first time but judged to be someone that can be trusted the second time. My outer appearance was a big factor in the store manager’s decision to follow me around in the store. I know there were other factors other than my clothing, but I will write about that another time.I often wonder if someone who the manager judged to be trustworthy was in another part of the store taking advantage of the “five-finger discount”.
Now God is totally different. The man judged me according to what he saw on the outside. But God judges me by what’s in my heart. In this context, God sent Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel. He went to Jesse who had seven sons. Samuel looked at each one but didn’t anoint one of them. He asked Jesse if he had another son. Samuel wound up anointing David, a least likely choice, as king of Israel.
So if God looks at the heart and rejects the outward appearance, and you’ve been looked over, passed by and flat out ignored, believe that God sees your heart full of humility and love He will do with you what others don’t think is possible. It’s much better to look good on the inside than be fabulous on the outside.