The Measure of a Man

“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 sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

This gem comes to us when God sends Samuel to anoint a son of Jesse to be king instead of Saul and doesn’t tell Samuel right away which one. Samuel sees the good, kingly looks and height of the eldest, and thinks this must be the one God has chosen to be king.

We do this today. Since the advent of television, presidential candidates have a much stronger chance of success if they look like  the sort  Hollywood would choose to play the president.  The president’s race thankfully no longer matters to the people, but when it comes to the presidency, in the voting booth where no one is looking, Americans, at least, still vote for a tall, dark, and attractive gentleman born to wealthy parents over a short fat guy with an everyman face and a blue collar background or a female presidential candidate of any sort.

God doesn’t measure us the way people do. When selecting where to fit us in the body and what vocation to call us to, God doesn’t judge our candidacy by our looks, how tall we are,  and by implication by other things important to men: how smart we are, how many degrees we have from the right schools, who our families are, how rich, how talented, or even how much we’ve messed up.

No, in the Kingdom of Heaven, God selects us for duty based solely on the condition of hearts, who we are on the inside when no one is looking, and more than that even, he looks ahead and sees who we can become if we answer his call and turn our hearts towards him. When Samuel looked at David that day, he saw a scrawny weak shepherd boy, the youngest son not likely to achieve greatness.

When God looked at the same youngest son shepherd boy that day, God already saw the man after his own heart who would slay the giant and turn down the chance to assassinate Saul even when Saul was jealously trying to kill him.

Lord, give us your eyes. Help us to see people as you see them. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.