Never judge a man by outward appearances
October 16, 2007
Several years ago, I went to a famous church in Washington, D.C., to hear a world-renowned preacher.
When the time arrived for the service to begin, two men took their places behind the pulpit. One had all the marks of a professional man – dignity, bearing, immaculate dress, good grooming. The other man was far from handsome, somewhat ungainly in his bearing and less than professional in appearance.
I had never seen the renowned preacher, so I immediately assumed that the more impressive man was he. Imagine my surprise when the man who didn’t look like a minister turned out to be the famous preacher. It is not safe to judge by external appearance.
Dishonest confident men who wish to prey upon the gullibility of the innocent and uninformed often are meticulous in assuming all of the outward appearance of respectability. In this way they establish an ethos to which they are not entitled and succeed in persuading the unwary. Many people have learned to their sorrow that it does not pay to depend on outward appearance.
Early in the school year in a medical school, the head of the anatomy department was watching the students perform their tasks in the laboratory. He was dressed in casual clothes and was assuming no airs of status. A new student, thinking him to be a janitor, asked him to clean up the floor.
The brilliant anatomist complied without a word. He was the type of person the author of Ecclesiastes was describing when he said, “I have seen servants upon horses and prices walking as servants upon the earth.” Ecclesiastes 10:7
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Often men of great stature and accomplishments are extremely unconcerned about status and appearance. A few years ago a columnist in a Western newspaper, describing a prominent figure stated, “He is so successful that he no longer needs to drive a Cadillac.”
How often status symbols are marks of insecurity rather than success.
• Al Tilstra is pastor of Silver Springs and Yerington Seventh-day Adventist churches.
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