ODJ: what counts

February 28, 2014 

READ: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 

O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me (Psalm 139:1).

The other day I was teasing a male colleague about the look of his lunch bag. The bag featured striped pastel colours with what appeared to be daisies around the edges.

As we walked into the lunch room I said, “Dude, you’re gonna need to get a more masculine-looking bag before someone beats you up”. Without missing a beat, he simply revealed to me the contents of his lunch: fresh homemade bread and chicken noodle soup. (I had a peanut butter and jam sandwich and a few carrot sticks). Now it was his turn to tease me . . .

This reminds me of a kingdom of God reality: It’s what’s on the inside that counts the most.

Our natural instinct is to think just the opposite. We tend to put more emphasis on appearances—height, weight, hair colour, body build, age, the clothes we wear or the cars we drive. You name it.

The Old Testament prophet Samuel made the same mistake when God sent him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as King Saul’s replacement (1 Samuel 16:1). As soon as Samuel spotted Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab, he thought for sure that he was destined to be Israel’s next king (v.6). But God corrected Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (v.7).

Eventually God told Samuel to anoint Jesse’s youngest son, David, as king. Though David didn’t look the part, God had His eye on his heart. And that’s what counted most.

As Samuel came to understand, the Creator of heaven and earth measures the importance of a person by what’s on the inside. Let’s remember that as we live our lives for God and minister to others. —Jeff Olson

Later in David’s life, after falling into sin, he wrote Psalm 51:10. Consider what it says about the importance of what’s inside. 
Where do you tend to put too much focus on the externals? How can you focus more on the heart of the matter?