The Mistake Jesse Made
We all have this innate tendency to show the world our best side and position our lives as more attractive than they really are. It’s always been a part of our humanity, but it shows through a little stronger these days thanks to social media – it’s easier than ever to show off the “highlight reel” but hide the “bloopers”. In the Bible, Jesse did this too.
Let’s rewind the clock a few thousand years to the age old story of David and Goliath…and then go back a few steps from there. I thought about this story in a different light recently.
1 Samuel 16:
Samuel, the prophet, the man of God, arrives at a man named Jesse’s doorstep. God spoke to him that the next leader of the nation was among Jesse’s family, so Samuel showed up ready to anoint and appoint. It wasn’t that far-fetched – Jesse’s boy’s were salt-of-the-earth, solid, proper, and attractive young men. Easily “leader” material!
Jesse does what we all do – he positions his family in an appealing way to impress the man of God. He shows off the highlight reel of his boys.
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of this too!
We make assumptions of what we think people want or need to see in our lives. We don’t allow the whole picture to be seen, because of course no one wants to see the real & raw stuff.
One by one, Jesse’s boys pass by Samuel.
At each pass, Samuel leans in to hear the Lord confirm if he’s the one.
As he listens, each time, the answer is “no”.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 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.”
At the end of the line, Samuel sighs and turns to Jesse.
“Is there anyone else?”
Turns out, there was one more that no had imagined would fit the bill. Quiet and unassuming, the boy with the sheep, David.
You know the rest of the long and crazy story to come from that, but my point is…
Don’t try to position things that you assume the Lord or others want to see cleaned up and perfect. If you truly want to make an impact, don’t present the world the filtered version of your life. Make the whole thing open and available to God, you never really know what He’s going to choose to use.
“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” Romans 12:3