Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
Our Bible verse for today: “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t be fooled by appearances”
I’ve been in various levels of leadership positions for more than forty-five years, and too often I’ve allowed myself to be fooled by a person’s appearance, or their accomplishments, or their talent. That’s less true today than it was in the beginning, but my sense of caution about such things has been learned through painful experience.
I remember one time many years ago I had a talented young man serve as a guest worship leader on multiple occasions in our church in California. He was a great guitar player, he had a beautiful voice, he was dynamic in the way he engaged the congregation, and I liked his style of music. I did have a sense that something was not quite right about his character, but I couldn’t put my finger on it and I didn’t think too much about it. Besides, I really liked his music.
One day I learned that he was in jail. He had sold the family’s mini-van and used the money to buy a large quantity of drugs he was then going to resell (after he kept a good amount for his own use). It turned out he was a secret drug addict. His young family was in serious financial trouble because of his addiction, they now no longer had a car, and he was headed for prison. But, I really liked his music.
The lesson of 1 Samuel 16:7 is that God is totally unimpressed with a person’s appearance, talents, professional accomplishments, or wealth. What God pays attention to is the condition of a person’s heart. We need to learn to do the same.
Good moral character, a strong sense of integrity, humility, a determined sense of perseverance, a commitment to hard work, loyalty, dependability, and of course, a close walk with the Lord, are all character traits that are much more important than any of those other things.
In terms of personal responsibility there are two points of application here. First, each of us has a personal responsibility to be developing the virtues in life that really matter most. Professional accomplishments, education, creative talents, etc, are all helpful and important, but such things are not as important as the condition of your heart.
Second, in our interactions with other people we each have a responsibility to not be fooled by outward appearances. Instead, look for evidence that reveals what kind of heart the person has. That’s what matters most to God, so that’s what should matter most to us.