Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Shepherd in the Shadows

One paragraph from Wead's column reminded me of a classic Bible story. Wead wrote:

“When Augustine Washington lay dying, all his hopes were on the shoulders of his son, Lawrence, who had been given the best education, trips to London, the estate of Mount Vernon and most of the money. But it was the little, unnoticed, uneducated, 11-year-old George, who stood in the shadows by his father’s side, who would achieve glory beyond anything his father could have ever imagined.”

Are you familiar with King David’s origins? I Samuel 16 describes how, long ago, the prophet Samuel was sent by God to anoint a new king for Israel. The Lord directed him to meet a man named Jesse and his family and told him to anoint the one He indicates. When he saw the son named Eliab, Samuel assumed this tall, handsome lad must be the one.

But here’s what God said: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. 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) After Samuel nixed Eliab, Jesse brought out seven more sons, one by one. Each time, Samuel rejected them.

Finally Samuel asks, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse had not bothered to fetch his youngest son, who had the lowly job of tending sheep. Jesse failed to see anything particularly winsome or kingly about the boy. However, God did. Samuel anointed him immediately, although it would be many years, many hardships and heartaches later before David would take the throne.

As a woman, I know we spend a lot of time worrying about our looks – fixing our hair, choosing our clothes, applying makeup and selecting just the right earrings. But do you realize the Lord is most concerned about our inner beauty? Are we taking time to develop and cultivate an inward spirit that will equip us to carry out the work God has planned for us? And are we encouraging our friends to be as inwardly attractive as they are outwardly? Try to read the first 13 verses of I Samuel 16.

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7