Monday, June 18, 2012

In the Eyes of the Lord

Four men are in the hospital waiting room because their wives are having babies. A nurse goes up to the first guy and says, “Congratulations! You’re the father of twins.”
“That’s odd,” answers the man. “I work for the Minnesota Twins!”
A nurse says to the second guy, “Congratulations! You’re the father of triplets!”
“That’s weird,” answers the second man. “I work for the 3M company!”
A nurse tells the third man, “Congratulations! You’re the father of quadruplets!”
“That’s strange,” he answers. “I work for the Four Seasons hotel!”
The last man is groaning and banging his head against the wall. “What’s wrong?” the others ask.
“I work for 7 Up!”

Happy Father’s Day! 

Most of the time it is such a joy as a father to welcome a new son or daughter into the world. It is a blessing and the beginning of a sacred responsibility, to nurture and to guide your young child through life to adulthood. To care for the child and to love unconditionally. No matter how smart or not so smart they are, no matter how handsome/beautiful or not,  you love and are proud of your child, and you will stand by them through thick or thin. Your son or daughter is YOUR special child and you look on him or her in a special way.

Today our Old Testament Scripture tells us of how God looks on us in a special way.  In chapter 15 of 1 Samuel, God had told King Saul specific instructions when it comes to battling the neighboring kingdom of the Amalekites. But Saul disobeyed God and so God rejected Saul as King and chose another.

God told the prophet Samuel to go to the house of Jesse and one of Jesse’s sons was to be anointed as the new King. Jesse brought before Samuel his children, and the first son came forward whose name was Elaib. According to some sources Eliab was a tall, handsome and strapping man who exuded confidence and manliness. And Eliab’s name means ‘God is Father” in Hebrew. Samuel when seeing him was confident that this young man was the one who God had chosen.  He was so excited that he even said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” But the scripture tells us God had a different idea. “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God had chosen another, so Samuel went through all the sons of Jesse and the Lord did not tell him which one was the future king. So he asked Jesse if this was all of his sons. And Jesse said no, his youngest son David was out in the field tending his sheep. So Jesse called David to come before Samuel and scripture tells us “And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!”  Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.

God does not look on us as we look upon each other. Today we as a society have an infatuation with good looks and fame. All the girls want to look like new newest teen heartthrob and all the boys want to be like their tv or movie idols. And we may shake our heads at times to the lengths that some of them will go to to be like these larger than life figures, but it was the same when we were kids. Back in my day it was Farrah Fawcett or Tom Selleck.  And it has been the same from as far back in time that you can look. It is part of human nature. The handsomest, biggest and strongest men become the ones the women want and the men want to be. And the most beautiful, charming and alluring women are the ones that the men love and the women love to imitate.  The same was back in the time of the Old Testament.

When Samuel came to Jesse’s farm knowing that god led him there to anoint the future king, when he saw Eliab a muscular and handsome man who stood out from among his other brothers it was almost a no brainer. But God did not choose this handsome Hercules; he had chosen the humble Shepard boy. 

Because, while we look at the outside of people, God looks at the heart.

How does God choose His servants? He chooses by looking at the heart.
God does not care what you look like on the outside, He looks at what really matters, what kind of person you are.

When I went to College, it was a Christian College. I met a guy who everybody called Papa Smurf. He was about 4 foot 1 with his shoes on, and sometimes acted like a sad sack. Everything that could go wrong for him did. When we went out to Brooklyn for our weekly Evangelism he was mugged. He was mugged in downtown New York coming back to college  and he was even mugged just outside our small college community. He desperately wanted a girl and would fall in love with a girl and ask her to marry him after just one date. He had a horrible time. But when papa Smurf got behind a pulpit this little guy suddenly had a power and presence like nobody else in his class. And when he was out on the streets of New York he fearlessly ministered to the gang members and homeless, bringing many souls to Christ.

When God looked at Papa Smurf, he didn’t see a little man. He saw a man who loved god and loved his fellow man. He saw someone who wanted to help. He saw a man after God’s own heart.

Just like God saw past all the imposing son’s of Jesse and instead chose the boy who quietly watched over his father’s sheep.

The same goes for us today. God doesn’t see our physical imperfections. He doesn’t see our weaknesses be they social, physical or emotional. He looks into our heart and sees us for who we really are. And He loves us, He has chosen US to be His servants. With all of our imperfections.

The Apostle Paul tells us as much in his first epistle to the Corinthians, at the end of the first chapter: 
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;  and the humble things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,  that no flesh should glory in His presence.  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

God has seen us through the eyes of a father. And He has chosen us, no matter how weak we are, no matter how foolish we are and nor matter how physically or socially unimpressive we are. God has chosen you to be His child.

So on this father’s day, let us thank God for His fatherly love. He loves us for who we are, not what we are or what we do. 

God loves with unconditional fatherly love.