The Heart of the Matter

06/09/11 | Posted by HughB

Have you ever been told that you never get a second chance to make a first impression or perhaps that you should "Dress for Success"? Like it or not, we live in a world where we are judged by our appearance.

 Plump Vegtables!

I’ve recently come back from a holiday in Spain. It was self-catering so most mornings saw me getting the day’s food before it got too hot. Not being able to speak Spanish, I went to a large supermarket where I could pick my own rather than try to ask for it.

There were two things that I soon noticed about the Spanish vegetables.

Firstly, they didn’t look much. The red peppers were flat, not like the nice plump ones we get in the UK, and they were actually more brown than red. The tomatoes were blemished, rather than the spotless ones I’m used to and the cucumbers were stunted. In fact, at first I wondered whether I should find somewhere else to shop where they had better quality products.

The second thing I discovered was how much better the vegetables tasted. Their flavour easily beat anything I have ever bought from a British supermarket and tasted better than the farm-shop produce I’ve eaten too.

In the early days of the Jewish monarchy, a prophet called Samuel was told by God to go to Jesse’s family to anoint the next king. On his arrival Samuel saw the biggest and most handsome of sons, Eliab, and decided that he must be the one but God stopped him, saying, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In the end, following God’s guidance, Samuel anointed the scrawny youngest son called David and the rest, as they say, is history.

Not a lot has changed, has it? We are in awe of celebrity. We fear the hoody and baseball. cap. Even youth can get a young person tarred with the same brush as a troublemaker.

For me church is a bit like that Spanish supermarket. There may be the occasional nice plump spotless person but most of us have our blemishes and are somewhat deflated. We can’t look into the heart like God can, but I’ve learnt that unless we’re willing to look beyond the outward appearance we risk missing out on getting to know some incredible people who can add a lot of flavour to our lives.

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