When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before him." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:6-7
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Today the world sells us a wrong idea of what ought to be the true values for people. Those wrong ideas show up in regard to lifestyle, status and physical appearance.
Today, it is the media which serve as the main agents in the distortion of the ideal body image. By that I mean they promote the sad and sorry idea a person can only be beautiful if they are young, full of health, are always "happy," and have achieved success. In doing this they say, "To be valuable you need to be always young, perpetually thin, of a certain complexion, and have a certain, indefinable 'it' quality."
Even God's people are not immune as they are challenged to be in the world and have a healthy self-esteem. That is difficult to do, for most folks don't have that kind of internal strength and personal confidence.
The question before us is this: how much should Christians care about the opinion of the world? How much should we worry about what others think of us and, finally, how should our lives be run by the standards of the world?
This is not an entirely new thing. The Bible also talks about this kind of crisis. In the text of 1 Samuel, God gives a wise lesson which sheds light on external appearances and the outward self we show to others. When Samuel was looking for a future king for God's people, he was brought to Jesse's house in Bethlehem. There Jesse rolled out his boys; one after another, they were striking in their externals.
Reviewing them, the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
Far better, I think, to take off the world's distorted glasses and see the world as the Lord does. Let us see sinners who are loved and who need a Savior. Let us see fellow believers as God's people for whom Jesus died and rose. If we do, I believe we will also find we no longer will be striving after the wind (see Ecclesiastes 2:11).
My friends, we are God's creation. Because of our blood-bought salvation, God has remade us into that which is good and useful. He has given us unique gifts and talents, which are not repeated from one person to another. The uniqueness of each of us is His gift given to us. What we do with those gifts is our gift of thanks we give to Him.
THE PRAYER: Lord, we thank You for our lives which You have, in Your plan and purpose, created and designed. May we always value our gifts and, seeing others as You see them, offer words of encouragement. This we ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Maria Gabriela Silveira. She is a 25-year-old student of communication as well as a member of the Lutheran Church of Uruguay. We give thanks for her work with Lutheran Hour Ministries in Uruguay. There we have evangelistic projects focused on the production of reading materials, workshops, and activities to bring Christ to the citizens of this South American nation of 3.3 million. In this country, LHM-Uruguay goes by the name of Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones, which means "Christ for All Nations." Using 30-second radio spots, text messaging and its blog, this ministry center spreads the Gospel while addressing social issues. Two of its primary resources are Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops, which teach the basics of the Christian faith and train people in personal witnessing. You can check out Uruguay's blog at lhmuruguay.wordpress.com.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries