Two Drug Dealing Youth Pastors?
“But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his 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.” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Let me tell you an interesting story. It was back in 1993, when I had just started interning as the junior youth pastor at Victory Christian Centre under Dan Hope. Dan and I had been asked to do a Christian radio program on KNTR just south of the border in Washington. Here we were, two young looking guys leaving Canada to go into the United States. Now, Dan is black, and back then, I had long hair down almost to my shoulders, a gotee, and an earring. When we approached the border crossing guard, and we told him the nature of our business, for some reason he didn’t believe us. Was it because Dan was black? Was it because I had long hair and an earring? Whatever the reason, he wasn’t buying our story, so he told us to park our car, and head inside. We started getting nervous. What if they keep us here for hours? We’d miss our radio program. They started interrogating us, asking who we were, what we were doing, and why we were doing it. We tried to convince them that we really were nice guys – youth pastors, in fact – and we were going down to a Christian radio station to do a family program on the air. They weren’t convinced. When they asked to see my identification, I said it was out in the car in my briefcase, and could I go get it. They said yes, but bring in the whole briefcase (did they think I had drugs in there or something?). I finally brought in my briefcase, opened it up so they could rifle through the contents (Bibles, Christian books, Christian music CD’s and the like), and they finally said, “Okay, you’re free to go.” That story taught me a valuable lesson about not judging by appearances.
The Bible encourages us to not look at outside appearances, because the Lord does not see as man sees; for the Lord looks at the heart. I wonder how many of us in our day to day lives judge people as soon as we meet them, and categorize them as either “good” or “bad.” Have you ever done that? Have you ever met someone for the first time, and – just because of their hairstyle, or the way they were dressed – said, “He/she is trouble. They can’t be up to any good.” God doesn’t want us to do that. He wants us to believe the best about other people, and to not judge them by their outward appearances – to look past the outward trappings and look at the heart. Consider this Scripture from the book of James…
“My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others? For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor” – well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?” (James 2:1-4).
Here’s a real practical application of today’s message for you. Don’t judge people by outward appearances. Don’t just hang out with people who are “just like you.” There are all different kinds of people treasures in the world around you, if you would just take the time to get past outward appearances and try to get to know them. Remember the story of my border crossing – the tale of two drug dealing youth pastors. Try to include everyone in your group – even those who may look a little different than you. I think the Lord would be well pleased with that.
Pastor Chris Jordan