But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16)
One by one, Jesse presented his sons. But none of the seven was chosen. Finally, Samuel asked if Jesse had any more sons. Jesse replied, "The youngest, but he is tending the sheep." This youngest son, of course, was David, whom Samuel anointed.
The Bible says David was ruddy with a fine appearance and handsome features. Yet that is not what the Lord was looking at. God was looking at his heart, for David was "a man after God's [sic] own heart." (Acts 13:22)
The outward appearance can be deceiving. As I read this familiar story recently, I thought of the children we work with. They are all beautiful children, with shy smiles and bright eyes, but frankly, some of them are small and skinny for their age. Add to that factors such as being raised by single mothers/ grandparents, low household income, speaking English as a second language, living in a cradle-to-prison pipeline zip code - the outward indicators are not in their favor.
Oh, but their hearts! The Lord looks at the heart. The heart of the fatherless child who regularly proclaims the love, faithfulness, and presence of the Heavenly Father. The hurting hearts of children who struggle in school. God is calling each to Him.
Father, thank You for looking at the heart. Help each child to hear Your voice as You look at their hearts. Cleanse and mold my heart that You would find what is pleasing to You.