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Tay Yong Thai• Timely Word •

Looking Beyond Outward Appearance

By 15 July 2017September 26th, 2017No Comments

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)

In April this year, I attended a Focus on the Family event and bought a DVD titled “The Dropbox”. It is a documentary feature film about a pastor in Korea, Lee Jong-rak, who built a mailbox where nearly 600 babies have been saved. He built the “Dropbox” in one of the poorest districts of Seoul, after finding a little girl with Down Syndrome on his front steps during the winter time and wanted to find a safer way for these abandoned babies to be surrendered.

When I watched the movie, tears kept flowing out of my eyes as I witnessed Pastor Lee’s single-mindedness and dedication to protect and love the abandoned babies, most of which were born with disabilities. It really moved me to see his love and persistence in caring for the many children under his charge.

Some of these children are so severely disabled that they would have to rely on the help of others to survive their entire life.

Pastor Lee said that “Many people think it is better for them to go to heaven as quickly as possible, because life on earth would be too difficult for them. But God sent them to the earth with disabilities. They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them to earth with a purpose. Disabled children teach many people, change many people and help people reflect upon themselves, which is why they are the educators of society.”

One of those who was changed by the children was Brian Ivie, the director of the movie who was not a Christian at the point of making the movie. Watching Pastor Lee going all out to protect the children and saying  “No one dies here.. I’m going to take care of you. I’m going to go after you, even though you may never know that I’ve done this for you, even though you may never know that you needed to be rescued.” mirrored the love of the Father. Everything changed for Brian when he saw himself as one of those children.

Indeed, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Cor 1:27-29)

In a world that idolizes beauty, success and perfection, outward disability goes against the grain of perfection which many strive for.

However, God does not look at man’s outward appearance but looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7). To God sin is a much more obvious disability then physical disabilities. The sins we harbour in our lives and in our hearts make us the ones with true disabilities and in need of love and help from God. Let us put even more effort in getting our inner, spiritual life right than in our physical pursuits.

In our interactions with people who cross our path daily, are we able to look beyond someone’s physical appearance and look with compassion at the spiritual needs that are waiting to be met (Matt 9:36-38) ?

Do we diligently and intentionally seek out the lost, just like the women in the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8)?  It is my prayer that God will grant us the discernment to look beyond the outward appearance and look with compassion on the heart that yearns for the love of God.

By Tay Yong Thai, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 15&16 July 2017)