"... for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
~ I Samuel 16:7
We have all heard the saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."
We live in a world where first impressions can involve many things, but for most of us, our reliance upon being a visual society has left us looking at people and doing just that.
It can be challenging at times.
I think looking at the different disciples that Jesus invited to follow him gives us a good example of seeing beyond what others see.
The diverse backgrounds, most that we would not consider evangelism material, or even a pastoral presence, were asked to "Follow me" by a man, whom many would say, did not resemble what they thought would be the Messiah.
I have discovered through the years that God always seems to show up in unexpected places. In people that I would not necessarily have gone out of the way to meet, or for that matter, become friends with, but that's how the Kingdom of God works.
It is about what is within in each of us. Not the clothes, or the job, or even where we live, it is about within.
Years ago I met a small group of women who supported one another, living under a bridge near the bayou in downtown Houston. The four women were reflective of the broken lives that they had experienced, but their love for Christ and for one another, had created a bond that could not be described in any other way, than sisters.
The first time I met these women they were visiting a parking lot where our church was providing sandwiches and toiletry items. They would come onto the property one at a time, gathering things for one another, and then would leave. It was probably six months before I put it all together that they lived with and supported one another. It was soon after this, that I visited their makeshift home.
A small altar had been created just under a beam that supported concrete as large trucks and daily commuters would drive over, rattling and roaring for hours each day, until suddenly, at some point, it would become quiet. They shared, "That is when we pray."
One of the women had read several books about monastic living, and together, the women had decided that God had called them to community. I soon learned that this was no ordinary makeshift home. I was visiting a religious order, and that these ladies were dedicated followers of Christ.
I'm not sure if anyone would have known this about these women unless the person had ventured under this bridge along the bayou, and sat and listened to the women share their faith.
We are reminded that the Lord does not look at us and see mortal beings. We are God's children, with a heart capable of many things. While we may look and act very different from one another, our shared "breath of God" that resides within each of us, serves as a reminder that there is much more to us than what we see on the outside.
It is the heart of the created that we should get to know, as God knows us by. Perhaps if we got beyond the limited vision that we have, and concentrated on what was within, many of the problems we face today would disappear. How wonderful would that be!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, today let me see the world with Your eyes. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.