Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dutiful Surpasses Beautiful By A Lifetime

Our calling is to become Christlike, not attractive

"...The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7.

As a young pastor, many an old saint prayed for me and adjusted my thinking and actions by their own. One of those was an elderly lady of wisdom, Mrs. Weary. She said to me, in answer to a question, one Sunday, "I dreamed and thought that life was beauty, but awoke to find that it was duty".  Mrs Weary had been a beautiful young lady, but when she began to date young men, she soon discovered that her beauty could be a detriment rather than a blessing. Time, experience and commitment to Christ molded her into one of the most dependable and faithful members of that church. I admire her still.

A couple I once knew were at the beach and a beautiful young college age girl walked past them, My friend's wife said regretfully, "I never will look like that again", to which he said, "Neither will she".

So, you dear young ladies and handsome young men,  don't spend too much time looking into the mirror or adorning yourselves like a Christmas tree. There is a reason God gave the Prophet Isaiah this prophetic and rare description of our Savior's human appearance ...."For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." Isa.53:2 Even Jesus appeared as a common man, in a form not beautiful, so that people would not be distracted from His pure holiness and message of salvation, and not be drawn to him by his beauty.

Another dear old, direct and honest member of the first of two churches I ever pastored, was the pragmatic, and plain spoken Rita Jackson. My beautician mother who was a rare beauty, always well groomed and impressively dressed, visited our church for the first time. Mother was Miss congeniality and literally everyone was drawn to her. I asked her to stand for my introduction and the congregation gave her a resounding applause. After church, as Rita Jackson shook my hand, she said, "Pastor, now I know where you got your vanity."
The truth sometimes hurts, but it is always beneficial and will set us free.

The emphasis here is, as the Apostle Paul cautioned the Colossian Christians...
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affectionon
on things above, not on things on the earth." Col.3:1-2

One last example which marked my judgment of people for the rest of my life was an old Deacon of that first church, called Dad Brown. Deacon Brown was about as unhandsome as a man can get. He was shriveled up in old age, came to church in the same suit every Sunday, had missing teeth and a large hooked nose. He also had one child, a retarded 40 year old son. Dad never said a negative word about anyone. He was as humble as anyone I have ever known. He was truly a root out of a dry ground: he had no form nor comeliness; and when we saw him, there was no beauty that we should desire him....but he was a true saint of God, a disciple of Christ and an ambassador of Heaven. Dad Brown was a blessing to this young, inexperienced pastor and stood by me, even when my inexperience showed most plainly. I think of him still.

Physical beauty proves nothing about a person's quality or worth or kindness or love of integrity or honesty or faithfulness. It has absolutely nothing to do with spirituality. If anything, it is a distraction. Hollywood is filled with "beautiful people", but it is probably the single most self righteous, vain, drug addicted and beauty obsessed nest of inconsistency in America.  "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." 1 Cor.1:27-29.
Dutyful Surpasses Beautiful By An Eternity. RB