I am remembering a time when my cousin’s daughter was dating a tattoo artist and relatives in my generation began to worry about her reputation as piercing and tattoos began to appear on her body. Never mind that she was bright and attending college while living with her grandparents to help them as they aged. Never mind her wonderful personality and winning smile, because tattooed ladies did not belong in our family! Now when “body art” is everywhere, my young cousin is moving toward the ripe old age of 40 and is recognized by everyone as the brilliant star that she has always been, if only others had taken the time to truly know her.
How often we judge by appearances! Today’s lesson from chapter 16 of the first book of Samuel has a great example of the danger of that stance. As Samuel was introduced to seven sons of Jesse from whom Saul’s successor was to be chosen, God kept saying, “Nope, not him!” until there were none left before him. (It sounds a little bit like a comedy routine if we imagine Samuel getting more and more agitated every time God rejects one of those presented to him.) When Samuel says to Jesse, “Don’t you have anyone else???” (Can’t you hear the exasperation?) Jesse had to wake up to the fact that it might be David, the youngest, the sheep herder, the dreamer that God had chosen. And so it was.
It’s a great story and an important lesson for us – not to judge a person by clothing or speech or degree of education or position in the work-a-day world…because not as humans see does God see, because people judge the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart. (1 SM 16:7) I will remember that today as I go about my various appointments and look for clues to the hearts beating all around me.