I’ll never forget the year I went to Nicaragua on a mission trip. My team and I organized a week of Vacation Bible School for some village children and helped tear down a parsonage so the next team could rebuild it.
When you think of VBS, you probably imagine your church’s annual summer ministry, complete with Bible stories, memory verses, silly songs, and craft activities.
We translated those components in a third world country—and improvised. I quickly learned that our craft expectations were a little unrealistic. Okay, way unrealistic. For the story of Noah’s ark, we had construction paper, glitter, and glue so the children could design their own rainbows.
To keep this story short, let’s just say that very little glitter ended up glued to the paper. Glitter fights (all friendly) broke out. In one sense, the craft was a brilliant success, because the children loved it. On the other hand, some of us were still picking glitter from our hair when we returned home.
Let’s face it: Children aren’t the only ones who find irresistible things that glitter. Teens and adults migrate toward the flashy phones, the latest toys, and the bling that keeps jewelry stores in business. We like to look our best and have the best.
What’s on the inside?
There’s nothing wrong with looking pretty and enjoying nice things unless these practices distract us from what’s most important: what’s inside.
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (I Peter 3:3-4 NKJV)
Incorruptible beauty. I love that expression. Time and wear can’t touch this type of beauty. So much that glitters fades.
All that glisters is not gold,
Often have you heard that told;
Many a man his life has sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded [tombs] do worms infold. (Act II, Scene VII)
“Gilded” tombs were covered with gold. Sure, from the outside, they glittered in the sunlight, but inside was nothing but decay and bones.
Jesus Himself criticized the Pharisees for putting too much emphasis on their outward shows. By their standards, these religious leaders appeared to keep the law, but they missed the point of true worship.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:27 NKJV)
Harsh? Sometimes the truth is.
There’s a warning here for us today. If we worry most about our appearances and what others think about us, we’re wasting our time. What matters more is our character, “the hidden person of the heart.”
Where’s our focus?
After Saul chose disobedience over God’s way, God sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s home to anoint a new king. Now Jesse had eight sons, and Samuel wasn’t sure at first whom God had chosen.
Then, he saw Jesse’s oldest boy, Eliab. He was tall, handsome, and kingly in appearance.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7 NKJV)
In fact, God said “no” to all of Jesse’s sons except the very youngest, a shepherd boy named David. Though David seemed the least likely choice, God saw in him the makings of a man after His own heart.
I’m so glad God cares more about our character than our cosmetics. If you like things that glitter, you don’t have to toss your lip gloss and ruby red slippers.
Just remember the issue that matters most: Does your heart sparkle for Jesus?
All that Glitters – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)
So much that glitters fades. Desire incorruptible beauty. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)
God cares more about our character than our cosmetics. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)