What Matters to God?

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at how tall he is, because I have rejected him. For the LORD does not look at things the way man does. For man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7 - EHV)

We like to judge a book by its cover, don't we? When something looks good on the outside, we are quick to assume it is good on the inside -- from the fruit we pick out at the grocery store, to the people we meet everyday. But the sad truth is that the outside isn't always what really matters. We probably have learned the hard way that we can't always judge a book by its cover.

Samuel was sure that he had found the man who would be the next king of Israel as he judged the next king by purely outward appearance. Before him stood Eliab, the oldest son of Jesse of Bethlehem. Eliab looked like someone who could be king. He was tall. He was good-looking, and he was the oldest of Jesse’s sons. Surely, when God had told Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel, God intended that Samuel should anoint Eliab.

Wrong! Eliab wasn’t the one whom God had chosen. Eliab’s appearance and height, which to Samuel made Eliab look “kingly,” weren’t what mattered to God. What mattered to God as he chose Israel’s next king was something that only he could see. What mattered to God was what was in Eliab’s heart. And as God looked at Eliab’s heart, he did not see what he wanted in someone who would rule over his people.

To us sinful human beings, appearances matter. Like Samuel, we too often judge other people by their appearance. And we do all we can to make sure that we present our best appearance before others since we know that they too often will judge us by the same standard. Even when it comes to how we present ourselves before God, our preoccupation with appearances tends to be very important. We think that if we at least appear to others as if we’re obeying God’s commands, if we at least have the appearance of being a “good” Christian, maybe that will be good enough for God too.

But the Lord told Samuel that he does not look at the things that people look at. While people may be impressed by outward appearance, “the LORD looks at the heart.” What does he see when he looks at our hearts? If he looks at our hearts as they are by nature, he sees hearts that are filled with unbelief, hatred, and defiance toward him. He sees hearts that deserve only to be punished forever in hell.

Thankfully, that is not the only way in which God looks at our hearts. For us who by God’s grace believe in Jesus as our Savior, God sees our hearts, not as they are by nature, but as they are in Jesus. And when he does that, he sees something very different. Through Jesus, he sees in us hearts that have been cleansed of every sin by the blood of Jesus, poured out on the cross. Through Jesus, he sees in us hearts that are covered with Jesus’ perfection. Through Jesus, he sees in us the hearts of his dearly loved children, who will spend eternity with him in heaven. That ultimately is what matters most to God—and to us. Thankfully, God doesn't judge the book by the cover. He judges us by the blood of Jesus who has made us perfect.

— Pastor Gartner


Church News

Voters’ Meeting

Our quarterly voters meeting will be our annual congregational meeting. The date on the calendar sent out to everyone is wrong. It is Tuesday the 22nd at 7:00pm (not the 15th). Please mark this change on your calendars and plan on joining us on the 22nd as we (among other things), vote for a new council secretary and a new trustee.

Streaming our Services Online 

With the update in our recording and audio equipment we now have the capabilities of streaming our services online. We tried a test-run the last two weekends and we are happy with how it turned out for the most part (there are a few audio issues that are almost resolved). Our plan right now unless things change is to stream our 8:00am service each Sunday and other services throughout the year. Look for a link on our Facebook page as well in the near future an embedded video on our website. Each service can also be watched live on our youtube channel (linked below) during and after each service. We hope that this is a great blessing to some of our shut-ins, to our members who are away on vacation and unable to worship with us, and others through the world so that they too can hear the message of God’s grace. We thank the Lord that he has given us this opportunity to share the gospel in this way! We are eager to hear your feedback.