More than meets the eye
Have you ever been deceived by a book’s plain cover? A modern-day parable I heard recently brought this old saying to life, and it's made me think quite a bit about the way we view others.
In a bustling urban city, there’s a chic coffee shop. Its usual clientele: busy professionals, artists, and tech-savvy youth. One afternoon, a man walked in wearing worn-out clothes, mismatched shoes, and carrying a battered old guitar case. The contrast was glaring. Some customers threw sidelong glances, others whispered. The barista, with a hint of disdain, asked if he was lost.
But then, the man opened that old guitar case and started to play. The melody was mesmerising, the notes were pure magic. He wasn't just any guitarist; he was a maestro. The very room seemed to breathe in rhythm with his music. By the end of his impromptu performance, the entire coffee shop erupted in applause. Turns out, he was a world-renowned musician testing a new piece, incognito.
It made me ponder: How often do we judge a situation or a person by what’s immediately visible? This guitarist's appearance almost cost him his audience, but more so, it nearly cost the customers an unforgettable experience.
The Bible is filled with lessons urging us not to judge by appearances. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God told Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Samuel was in the process of anointing the next king of Israel. By man's standard, David, a mere shepherd boy, was easily overlooked. But in God's eyes, he was the chosen one.
Remember James’ advice in his epistle about showing favouritism? He warns against giving preference to someone wearing fine clothes over someone poor wearing shabby clothes (James 2:2-4). The underlining message: Do not judge based on appearances.
In our fast-paced, image-driven society, it's easy to make snap judgements. The brands we wear, the tech we flaunt, the cars we drive – it's tempting to gauge a person's worth based on these. But, just like the musician in the coffee shop, there’s often so much more beneath the surface.
So, what can we do differently? Perhaps, next time we meet someone, we could try listening more and assuming less. Engage in conversations, ask questions, and truly get to know the person. You might just be surprised at the stories, talents, or wisdom they bring.
Isn’t it exciting? Every person is like a treasure chest, waiting to be opened and explored. By looking beyond the superficial, we embrace a more Christ-like way of seeing others, recognising their innate worth.
After all, wasn't it Jesus who saw potential in fishermen, tax collectors, and even those on society’s fringes? He didn’t just see who they were; he saw who they could become. Imagine if we adopted that vision?
So the next time you're tempted to judge a book by its cover, or a guitarist by his old case, remember: the real story, the true melody, lies within. And it's often more beautiful than you can imagine. How will you see the world around you today?