Saturday, March 9, 2013

Appearance Isn’t Everything

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”
(I Samuel 16:7).

My mother recently downsized to a smaller apartment.  In the process she parted with some lovely European cut glass which she rarely used.  She displayed them occasionally, but the rest of the year they stayed packed away.  Although lovely to look at they were not very useful.

I am certainly not saying that we shouldn’t enjoy things because of their aesthetic value.  After all, God is the creator of beautiful things.  But sometimes appearances are not everything.

Pain and illness can affect our outward appearance.  One of my daughters saw a picture of me taken 30 years ago and remarked how good my makeup looked.  I somewhat laughingly told her that pain and age have taken their toll.  No matter how expensive the health or beauty treatment, it can’t always hide the effects of chronic pain.  Sleeplessness causes eye circles, medications cause weight fluctuations and other physical changes, and ageing causes wrinkles.

Being useful does not require a perfect outward appearance.  It requires a mind and heart attitude that is willing to be used by God in whatever ways we can in our specific conditions.  Focusing too much on outward appearance can promote a self-centered rather than God-centered life. 
Beautiful, healthy people may look at us and think we are not very remarkable, but God sees the inside as well as the outside.  If we are allowing our pain to conform us to the image of Christ - praising Him and giving thanks even when life is incredibly hard, trusting His decisions for our lives, forgiving those who don’t understand our limitations - our spirits are lovely and pleasing to God. 

My mother enjoyed the beauty of her cut glass, but she only has room now for what is useful.  In heaven we will all be perfect in appearance as well as continuing to have great purpose.  For now, even while in pain, I want to prepare my inner self to match the outward beauty yet to come.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, keep me from becoming distracted or discouraged by outward appearances. Rather let me stay focused on developing the beauty of Christ in me, and in serving the purposes for which You created me. Amen.


  1. Needed to hear this today, thank you! Found you thru my daily Rest Ministries devotional reading. Although for different reasons than your mom, I too, went thru downsizing and moving into apt. It's a journey for certain. Prayers for you both as God is continually challenging and changing.

  2. Thank you Linda. Sorry it has taken me so long to acknowledge your comment. Things are still a little hectic. I pray God's blessings on you too.