1 Samuel 16:7 (New International Version)
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
It’s interesting to me to be reminded that, when Samuel said to fetch David, David’s father told him he was with the sheep. He was off doing his job as a shepherd, faithfully taking care of the sheep. I bet when he showed up for his job interview he smelled like the sheep he cared for. Evidently, no one other than God thought David was any account for this job, because they didn’t even bother to summon him. But David was a shepherd and a shepherd was precisely what God was looking for.
Once I was a team leader in an organization where I had the responsibility to recruit and train volunteers for the team. One of my recruits drew my notice because of his shepherd’s heart and the way he tuned into visitors as he engaged them in conversation. I assigned him to a job where he was available to answer questions and take visitors on tours—something he did with great skill and winsomeness.
One day, a few weeks after he began this responsibility, I was told to put him somewhere else, that he wasn’t a good fit. When I questioned the person who had said this, I found out his decision was made in an instant, based largely on first impressions. The staffer who made the decision didn’t actually see my friend in action. He’d asked him a question and didn’t like the way he answered.
We were able to find another assignment for this man until the staff member moved on. My friend continues to serve everywhere he is asked. With gentle friendliness. In fact, he’s been promoted.
It grieves me whenever I encounter a philosophy of leadership in the church that overlooks true, godly, servant leadership because it is so focused on the outward. This is what the world does and what the church of God must not.
We must learn to see with God’s eyes. That means getting past the distractions of the outward and seeing what’s in the heart.