Back in the early 60s, Jimmy Soul had a very popular hit on the charts, “If You Want to be Happy for the Rest of Your Life.”
The sentence to follow that phrase in the song said, “Never make a pretty woman your wife; so for my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.”
The message of that song flew in the faces of high school boys all across the country, because no boy wanted to be seen at the malt shop, or the movies on Friday night with a girl who was anything but drop-dead gorgeous. In high school, we looked more on the outer facade and not what was in the heart. Grown-ups still do that most of the time.
At the end of the song, there was a brief interlude — a conversation between these two guys:
“Hey man, I saw your girl the other day, and she is ugly!”
The answer was, “Yeah, she may be ugly but she sure can cook!”
Believe it or not, that silly song reveals a deep message. Mankind is so accustomed to looking at the outer person, and disregarding what’s in the heart.
Our God is not that way. He favors the inner man over the outward facade. In 1 Samuel 16, in the wake of God taking the Israelite kingdom away from King Saul, He told the prophet Samuel to go to Bethlehem and look for a man named Jesse, who had several sons. The first son Samuel saw, Eliab, really impressed him. Eliab was tall and handsome and all outward appearances indicated he was the man to succeed Saul.
But God said to Samuel, “Don’t judge him by his outward appearance. I have already rejected him. Then the scripture went on to say that “God does not see the same way as people see. People look at the outer facade, but the Lord looks upon the heart.”
So who took Saul’s place as king? It was a little short, red-headed guy named David — the youngest one of Jesse’s boys. He wasn’t even old enough to shave and had never been away from the watch care of Jesse. People scoffed when the little fellow stood up to the 10 feet tall Philistine. But God was with him and made him victorious over the giant.
May our standards be, “rather than to be fascinated by outward appearances, try to determine what is contained in the heart.” This could apply to any young lady in search of a husband; a young man in search of a wife; a company CEO in search of quality workers; or even a church selecting a pastor.
Just think about the myriad of people in scripture God chose and used to His glory. Rahab, a prostitute, was used by God to hide the Israelite spies from the giants of Jericho; God used a man who had an affair to rule over Israel; Noah got drunk; Abraham was old — Sara was impatient; Jonah had a problem with hatred and self-pity; Moses had a temper; Peter often talked out of turn; Jacob was a cheater; Thomas was a doubter; and Martha was bossy. If you study scripture, you’ll notice God never chose a perfect person to do His work. Because there was only One, and the crowd crucified Him.
But God could see the hearts of all these troubled people and was able to use them. You have flaws too — so do I — but that doesn’t stop God from seeing something in our hearts He can use, and, in turn, receive glory from us.
Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.