Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for March 30-April 5 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian of Symphony Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 16:6-12
When [the sons of Jesse] came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 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.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
In Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink, he writes about a man named Bob Golomb who is an incredibly successful car salesman. The average car salesman sells ten cars per month, but for over a decade, Golomb has sold on average about twenty cars per month. What was his secret? Gladwell tells us that “He assumes that everyone who walks in the door has the exact same chance of buying a car.” Golomb himself said, “You cannot prejudge people in this business… You have to give everyone your best shot.”
Golomb has great success selling cars because whenever someone would walk into his dealership, he would not assume anything about them. A man could walk in wearing a hoodie and sweatpants, but Golomb would approach him the same way he would to a man wearing an expensive business suit. Golomb was able to sell so many more cars than his fellow car salesmen because no matter who came to him, he would strive to see beyond their appearance and assume their potential to buy a car and give them his best shot.
This sounds like a great philosophy, but how bad are we all at this? If we just look at Samuel in this passage, he is a prophet, a man who speaks with and for God, but even he struggles to do this! Looking only at his appearance, he sees Eliab and thinks, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” Samuel was looking at these sons of Jesse and only seeing the outer appearance. We all do this all the time. We meet someone, and we see how they look or how they act and we make judgments about them: “That girl could be an awesome leader” or “That guy he’s not smart enough to be useful here.”
But the Lord declared, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Imagine if we would look at people and not see them with our human eyes, judging by their appearance or manner or dress, but instead see them with the eyes of the Lord with a desire to see their hearts. Maybe we could emulate Bob Golomb and strive to see the potential in every person and discover God’s love for them.
Father, I pray that you will open my eyes to see Your love for every person. Help me to remember that every person I encounter is someone made in Your image. I pray for eyes to see each person and love them as You do. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 33
Lunch Break Study
James 2:1-9: My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Questions to Consider
- What does James say is wrong with showing partiality?
- Why is it difficult to fulfill the “royal law” and love our neighbors as ourselves?
- How can you be “doing well” (v. 8) today and share the love of Jesus with your neighbor?
- In the church that James was addressing, there was this issue of favoritism, causing divisions within the church. Some in the church seemed to be favoring the rich people in the congregation and giving them seats of honor, while those who were poor were relegated to lower positions. James tells us that showing partiality or favoritism puts up walls between people. When we do this, we create distinctions between people and we are judging others with evil thoughts. We are seeing our fellow brothers and sisters with human eyes.
- It is difficult to love others as ourselves because we are so prone to looking at others by the outward appearance. Though we might not be making judgments of others just because of their looks, it could be about their wealth, status, or even how well we get along with them. Even as Christians, we find it hard to love our neighbors because we don’t always look at others as God does.
- Personal application question.
Did God open your eyes today to see people that He loves? Was there anyone with whom you found it difficult to see past their appearance? Reflect on God’s love for you and for your neighbor and pray for Him to keep opening your eyes to see others as people made in His image.