Scripture for Today: 1 Samuel 15-18
I had a rough entry into middle school: my hair was too big, my style was lacking, my desire for popularity was strong. On the eve of our first sixth grade dance, I stayed up late planning how to overcome my lack of cool. I finally settled on wearing one of my favorite Christian t-shirts featuring this verse from our reading today: “Man looks at the outer appearance but God looks on the heart.” I was sure that this would awaken and inspire all of my desired friends. It didn’t work. Surprisingly, a graphic tee didn’t convince a group of pre-teens focused on their dance cards to see the world as God sees it.
David faces this exact challenge in his call to be king. Although God anoints David through the prophet Samuel, the people around David cannot see his value. God’s choice was not made in a vacuum but in a world that valued age, height, and the brute strength of Goliath. In choosing David, God turns society upside down by lifting up a lowly shepherd to be king. God often flips the world’s values in this way.
We are called to live by God’s “upside down” values of community and generosity in cultures that continue to privilege domination and acquisition. These cultures urge us to pursue the fleeting mortal desires of wealth, recognition, attraction and power. Our journey (at all times but especially in this season of Lent) is to practice letting go of our commitment to worldly things and turn towards the realm of the heart.
Prayer: May I see the world as God sees it.
Reflection: Where am I pursuing fleeting values? How can I develop my attention to the heart and things that will last?
Art: “David Fighting Goliath” by Gerard Stricher