Sermon Summary from November 1, “Appearances” (1 Samuel 16)
Yesterday, I had an amazing conversation with a woman that had been homeless, a woman that I ordinarily would have shied away from. Why? Because of appearances. I came to find out that because of medical problems, now controlled with the right prescriptions, she had become homeless. She was educated, a voracious reader, and worked as a computer technician. He had no car by choice. She had no television because it was a time sink. She hadn’t been to church for 40 years until the United Methodist Church invited her in her homeless clothes to attend, and now she considers it her church and she never misses a Sunday. Amazing conversation and I almost missed because of appearances that I shy away from.
But you know that we all seem to create appearances that define us and others shy away from. Some wear big hats and buckles. Others have tattoos. Others have bikes and helmets. High School kids gather in like kinds by appearances. We’re in the process of selecting Presidential nominees and I’ll bet we’re doing it in part by appearances. I wonder what kind of chance Abraham Lincoln would have with our current system?
Jesus is described in the Old Testament as a man of sorrows that others would hide their faces from. He was born into poverty, a manual laborer, homeless during his ministry. Would I have missed him?
Israel almost missed King David. They had a King, Saul, right out of Hollywood central casting, the most handsome man in the land who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. But Saul chose military expediency over God, and God rejected him.
God told Samuel (prophet and the final Judge of Israel) to go to home of Jesse and choose on of his sons. Samuel thought surely God’s chosen was among Jesse’s older and more handsome sons; but Go told him “mortals judge by appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.” “...At the heart.” David, the youngest, 10 or 12 years old was selected by God.
That’s what we need to do, need to train ourselves to do. But to get to the heart, we need to enter into conversation, even with those that may look difference than we do. Here’s our challenge, to find a person (in a safe environment) that we may never ordinarily talk with and engage them in conversation, maybe in the checkout line, maybe in the aisle. Step out of our comfort zone. Find ways to look at the heart. We will all be enriched by it.