Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Judging a Book By the Cover

1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

A number of people want to label people. They have a hard time seeing people as people – instead they lump them into categories. A number of people in the world judge a book by the cover.

For instance – some will look at a person’s age and assume they are too young or too old to accomplish a job or task. The United Methodist Church – for instance – has a mandatory retirement age (72). That doesn’t mean a person is no longer able to provide effective ministry – now does it? Shouldn’t a person’s effectiveness be the standard rather than an age?

Some will look at a person’s size or looks and assume they are not the person they want for the job. Can you think of occupations where looks count? The Naval Academy has physical standards – or at least they did. People had to have a certain height and weight and physical condition.

Israel used the eye test when it came to their king. Samuel – the prophet of God – used the eye test when selecting a king.  Yet – God looks not at the outward appearance – but rather the inside of a person – the heart – the inner person. Today’s passage tells us how God looks at people. Continue reading

January 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord Looks at the Heart!

1 Samuel 16:7

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

82015 RayOne of the things I love about our church is the growing diversity. We’re getting ready to hang national flags from our members and friends at First Church. In a service we held about a year ago we had over 40 nations of origin represented. Some are several generations removed from their nation of origin but some are first generation in America.

We are putting the flags up in our entrance area – so that when people come into our church facility the first thing they will see is the great diversity of our church family. We want people to feel welcome and appreciated – right away!

Last night – as I was helping a congregation with their Charge Conference as a presiding elder – I met someone I hadn’t seen since High School days. I introduced myself to the group gathered – so he had an advantage. He asked me later if I recognized him. Well – it has been 42 years since I graduated from High School and he was two years behind me in school. I knew I knew him – but I couldn’t pull his name out of my memory banks. Shortly we were talking about the old days – bringing our heart to bear on our memories – talking about people who had died and people who still lived in the area. A person that an hour earlier had simply looked like another member of this local church – soon became an old friend that had many common memories with me.

One of the special treats – serving a diverse congregation – is that many within our congregation have learned to not judge a book by its cover so to speak. We strive to not make determinations by a person’s appearance (we try not to judge or look horizontally at anyone). We strive to get to know them and see their heart.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. This is the story of David’s anointing by Samuel. Watch how God instructs Samuel to not judge a book by its cover. 1 Samuel 16:1–13 – 1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?” 5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 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 people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

David – at the time – didn’t look the part of a King. When I read this story – I am reminded that God doesn’t always call the equipped – but God will always equip the called. We should ALWAYS take the time to get to know someone and to know their heart – instead of making horizontal judgments on appearances. Remember – the Lord looks at the heart – and so should we!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

October 22, 2015 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Appearances Can Be Deceiving

1 Samuel 16:7

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.”

profileWe play a game at Christmas in our family.  When the McDonalds get together for Christmas we all purchase gifts for the game.  We usually place a dollar amount on the gift like $20 and we wrap them and put them in a pile.  We draw numbers and begin the game.

The game goes like this.  Number 1 goes first and can pick any gift in the pile.  Once they touch a gift (no shaking or sizing up the gift by touching it) they must open that gift.  Move to number 2 and the fun begins.  Number 2 can pick another gift from the pile or take the gift that number 1 picked.  If they take number 1’s gift – number 1 must pick another gift from the pile.  As we progress through the numbers the options increase.  For instance – number 10 can take the gift of number 2 and number 2 can take the gift or number 5 and so on.  We have to limit the number of times – per round – that a gift can float the room or we would be at it all night. Continue reading

December 5, 2013 Posted by | Advent Thought, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do We Judge a Book by Its Cover?

1 Samuel 16:7

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.”

My DadRevRayDo we judge a book by its cover?  I mean – do we predetermine what we think of someone or something by appearances?  If we were honest – we would probably have to say – at least at times – that this is a true statement.  I was recently asked to preach at a friend’s church – he was going to be away.  I remember two comments that are relevant in today’s devotional thought.  Let me relate them today.

I began – in the fall of 2012 – wearing a clergy collar in the pulpit and to funerals and other official events.  I had worn them before but on rare occasions.  What happened in the fall of 2012 was my father died.  My father was a United Methodist clergy person and he often wore a collar.  As part of my grieving process and as a way of honoring my father I began to wear one too.  I’m not sure how long this will last – maybe the rest of my ministry – but I was wearing a collar the day I filled the pulpit at a friend’s church.  One person leaving the service mentioned that he thought I would be stuffy after seeing me in a collar and he was pleased that I was not – actually he found me to be very friendly he said.  The second comment that comes to mind was an older gentleman that thanked me for looking like a clergy ought to look. Continue reading

July 9, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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