Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
- I Samuel 16:12b
It's easy to judge things by their outward appearance. As the saying goes, we often "judge a book by its cover."
To illustrate this phenomenon, Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post staged an experiment of sorts in 2007. Retaining Joshua Bell, a world renowned concert violinist, to perform incognito in a Washington Metro subway station during rush hour, Weingarten hoped to explore how appearance and context affect our judgments of value.
Bell played six classical pieces for around 45 minutes on his handmade 1713 Stradivarius (an instrument for which he was rumored to have paid 3.5 million dollars). According to a Snopes.com story verifying this account, "he collected just $32.17 for his efforts, contributed by a mere 27 of 1,097 passing travelers. Only seven people stopped to listen, and just one of them recognized the performer." Amazingly, only three days prior, Bell played to a packed Boston Symphony Hall "where fairly good seats went for $100."
The lesson is clear: great blessings and opportunities are often disguised beneath less-than-great appearances. The true value and potential of something isn't always obvious at first glance.
The search for a man to follow Saul as King of Israel was initially based on appearances. Jesse first brought his biggest and strongest sons to the prophet Samuel for consideration. Even Samuel thought that the Lord's anointed was surely before him. Not so. In 1 Samuel 16:7, we read:
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
And so, pressed by the prophet Samuel, Jesse finally revealed a younger, smaller son: the shepherd boy, David. Anointed by Samuel in front of his brothers, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon David from that day forward (1 Samuel 16:13).
Child of God: What God has declared you to be is an infinitely greater reality than what you presently appear to be. Don't judge your worth or your potential by mere appearances and outward circumstances.
God has not only looked upon your heart; in love, he's changed it. The same Spirit that came upon David has come upon you! Like King David, you're now a man or woman after God's own heart because God's heart was first after you. He's called you; he's anointed you. Lift your head. You're a sister or brother of the greater David, Jesus Christ - King of kings and Lord of lords. No matter what things look like on the outside, remember this: you're forever a member of God's royal family!
You're loved. Don't forget it.