TERRE HAUTE —
Once upon a time, a couple bought a new house in a new neighborhood. They quickly moved in, happy to be living in a better house in a better area. Their first morning in their house, they ate breakfast in their newly decorated breakfast nook when they noticed their elderly neighbor hanging her laundry on the clothesline in her back yard.
“Look at her. I can’t believe she doesn’t have a dryer. Those clothes on the line are not going to make this neighborhood look any better. Besides, those clothes look really dirty. I’ll bet she doesn’t even know how to do laundry correctly. Or maybe she needs to buy better soap.” Her husband looked at their new neighbor, but remained silent.
A couple of days later, their neighbor was again hanging clothes in her back yard. “There she goes again,” said the wife. “I can’t believe her clothes are still so dirty. The poor woman was probably never taught the right way to wash clothes. What a pity.” Again, the husband silently looked out the window.
Early the next week, the couple was at their breakfast nook while their neighbor was again hanging out her laundry. “Well, there’s a surprise,” she said. “Look at how clean her clothes are. I wonder who taught her how to finally do her laundry.”
Her husband merely smiled and said, “Her laundry is just as clean as it always was. I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
This reminds me of the story in 1st Samuel 16. God had told Samuel He no longer wanted Saul as king of Israel. So, he sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. When Samuel walked in Jesse’s house, he saw Jesse’s oldest son and he assumed this was the new king. But God said no. God also said no to 10 of Jesse’s other sons.
When the youngest of Jesse’s sons came in from tending sheep, the Lord told Samuel, “He is the one.” So Samuel anointed David, and from that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.
David, fresh from the field, smelling of sheep, the youngest of 11 brothers, the most unlikely candidate, was to be the next king of Israel. Because God had told Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
“Sometimes we can be a lot like the young woman in the new house, thinking we know better than others. We can even be like Samuel and Jesse, thinking that we make better choices than God.”
I guess it’s important that we remember something. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look. I pray that our windows see what God sees in others — not outward appearances — but the heart.
Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at email@example.com.