We live in a world that is obsessed with first impressions. How do I look? What job do I have? What house do I live in? What successes can I put on my resume? Although most of us know that this kind of thinking can often be shallow, it is very hard to escape. We can be so consumed with the outward appearance of things that we forget to focus on the things of substance.
The day ancient Israel demanded that they have a king is a sad illustration of this fact. Even though God had looked after them, they did not think it was enough. They wanted a king so that they could be just like the other nations around them, whose kings all looked so impressive. God gave them what they wanted - a king who was tall, handsome and impressive. However, King Saul, Israel's popular choice as first king, was a disaster. He lacked discernment, was rash and most significantly, ignored God's advice on how to lead.
Israel's second king was a far better choice. This time God did the choosing. He chose a small, humble and apparently insignificant boy, the youngest of eight sons of an ordinary man. God chose King David, who turned out to be one of the greatest leaders in Israel's long history. Although not particularly impressive outwardly, David led with bravery, insight, wisdom and with a firm focus on following God's guidance.
God's rationale for choosing David as king was simple:
'People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.' (1 Samuel 16:7)
There is nothing wrong with making a good first impression. But an attractive appearance can only hide deficiencies in character for so long. Whether it be looking for qualities in leaders and people we choose to follow, or focusing on how I can be the best person I can be, we should never ignore the importance of the heart.
Rev Alex Koch – Chaplain
An Anglican day and boarding school
for girls, Kindergarten to Year 12. Founded in 1856.
26 Albion Street Waverley
NSW 2024 Australia
Telephone +61 2 8305 6200