Not Like Us
We're all familiar with the scene; particularly in movies. A beautiful woman walks into a room in slow motion. The music is playing as all eyes are on her. Every man is attracted to her, and all women want to look like her. Her hair flows and bounces as she strides along in perfection.
What I've just described isn't just true in movies. Of course we don't experience the music and slow motion, but it's certainly true that attractive people capture the attention of those who are in their presence. The term "attractive" is appropriate, since such people attract attention to themselves, due to their pleasant physical appearance.
In an episode of "Monk", I remember one of the characters, an attractive woman, doing something she wasn't supposed to. Monk quickly said "You can't do that!". She responded by saying "I can do whatever I want, I'm cute."
The actress' line is funny, but there's a large element of truth to it. Society values beautiful physical traits. Just turn on your television, or look at a magazine or billboard. If you're watching the news, It's very likely that the anchor is attractive. If you go to the movies, the featured film is likely to contain attractive celebrities.
Our world is obsessed with physical appearance, but that's not the only thing that catches our attention. If you're socially awkward, you know that your ability, or lack thereof, to interact with others is very important. Just watch any comedian who is able to connect with a crowd. They may not be knockouts, in terms of their physical triats, but people love to listen to them, and be around them. Such traits in the world of stardom are easy to point out. But we can also recongnize these traits in those around us, who may not be famous. In high school, they're the popular kids. In adult life, they're those individuals who have confidence, charisma and swagger. Some people have it, others don't.
What about youth? The world loves youth.
My sister has two young children. Every week, at church, those kids are always complemented by someone. People can't help but give them candy and comment on how adorable they are. Children possess an innocence that the world can't help but love.
In contrast, the world doesn't tend to value the elderly. For this reason, society is always interested in finding ways to stay young. As we get older, our bodies, and sometimes our minds, become frail and less optimal. I don't know anyone who longs to be frail and less optimal.
If the world doesn't value frailty, we certainly value strength. Many people marvel at the physical accomplishments of severely disciplined atheletes. Sports, including the Olympics, astonish many for this very reason.
A strong mind is also highly valued by society. Albert Einstein is a household name. He's known for being a genius in the area of physics, and has become an icon and symbol of all that is smart. If you're smart, the world may value you for what they believe you may be able to achieve. On the other hand, people don't tend to value those who are dumb.
All of these qualities are qualities which are highly valued by the world, but what does God value? What impresses him?
The good news is that God isn't like the world. This is good news for anyone who isn't brimming with any of the qualities which were previously mentioned. Because those qualities tend to fade, it's good news for everyone, from all walks of life, that God values something different.
When it comes to God, we're all put on an even playing field, in terms of whether or not we have any hope of being valuable to him. This is because God isn't like us. He's not impressed by any of the mentioned attributes that the world adores. Often times, we can't improve the traits that the world loves. People often try to improve these traits, but usually, we simply have to do the best with what we've been given. Even if you're at the top of the list with any of these attributes, all of them are temporary, and will fail you, over time. Regardless of whether the world values you, God is still able to value you becaue his values are different than the world's.
The most popular, and clear, verse that describes what God values, is found in 1st Samuel 16:7. This is what it says.
"But the Lord said to him, 'Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.'"
-1st Samuel 16:7