5/7/08

What Do You See?

Showing face. Keeping up appearances. Preserving dignity. Presenting a respectable front.

I draw attention to myself at all the wrong times. On good hair days, when my hem is straight and my shoes match my bag and I'm rockin' along like I've got it together, I'm pretty sure I blend into the walls. [well, if the walls were multi-colored and very fashionable, that is. *grin*]

But when my hair looks like it was coiffed by a 4-year-old and my heel gets caught in the sidewalk and I very nearly lose my balance and dignity, everyone notices. Trust me. Everyone.

I think it's programmed into humans [or at least into every person who has amusedly observed me tripping or dropping things] to notice when something goes comically [or critically] wrong. I'm pretty sure that's the way the human code was written. You're welcome to ask Jesus about it on your own time. Don't tell Him I said it, though, ok? ;o)

Since we all know about the code, we tend to be obssessed [to varying degrees] with our appearance - we all worry about how other people perceive and judge us, whether or not all of us admit this freely. [Hey, even I'm not even going to try to pretend it doesn't matter to me, too.]

But how important is the preservation of our outward dignity?

Not so much, according to Jesus. He told Samuel, who was in the middle of searching for the perfect candidate for the crown, to let Him do the choosing of Israel's future king, since "man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart. 1 Samuel 16:17"

Samuel's mother knew a thing or two about the disparity between the inside and the outside; as a woman who spent years longing for a child, she was misunderstood by everyone. 1 Samuel 1 says:

"As she [Hannah] continued praying before the LORD [that He would bless her with a child] Eli [the high priest] observed her mouth.

Now Hannah spoke in her heart; her lips moved, but her voice was silent. Eli thought she had become drunk, and said to her "How long will you be a drunkard? Put away wine!"

Hannah said, "No, sir, it is this; I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I am not drunk. I've been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Don't consider me as a pagan drunkard, because it's in my grief that I am crying out.

Then Eli answered and said, "Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him."

Thank you, Eli. A regular little Captain Obvious, aren't you? Eli was the high priest of the temple, a man who should have been in tune with the spirit of the people who prayed there, but it's clear that his discernment was a little cloudy when it came to Hannah. Growing up in an apostolic environment, fervent prayer and exuberant worship are second nature to me, so I can't imagine being accused of drunkeness in church. But it happened to Hannah.

Our girl took the criticism in stride, though. In her willingness to step outside the box and approach God with everything she had, she took a chance. And she looked a little silly. But she didn't care! When people didn't understand her, she was ok with that, too. She sought after Him with her whole heart.

Are you seeking Him for something? Are you willing to sacrifice your dignity to do it? What's on the outside is important in the earthly sense of sharing the love of Jesus, but purity on the outside is motivated by a beautiful heart - and that's what Jesus is looking for.

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[the alohilana blog] by R. Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at alohilana.blogspot.com.