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 people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7 NIV
Throughout the Bible God often selects the weak, outcast, over-looked, and powerless to accomplish his purposes.
I've attended leadership conferences for most of my twenty-five year ministry career. I am passionate about discovering the best practices of leading myself and others well. I like to hear what people have to say. I search for and want to know the outcome, bottom line or root cause of their success. I prefer to learn in a lecture or classroom style but appreciate leaning from the experiential classroom of life. I believe we can learn from every experience and apply what we learn toward continued growth and development. Thankfully, I've learned a peculiar lesson from reading about great leaders in the Bible. God has very different criteria and uses a unique selection process for choosing and developing his leaders. God looks at the heart.
Jesse thought so little of David he wasn’t invited to the initial meeting with Samuel. David wasn’t just obscure to his nation he was obscure to his own family.
Sometimes people rise from obscurity to courageously stand in the gap. The Philistines were Israel's powerful enemies. Saul began as a leader with tremendous promise but failed to deliver. He was anointed king but took matters into his own hands and led a terrified army. God's people were demoralized and broken by their adversaries. The environment was ripe for a bold leader to step up, take out the giant, and lead the charge. An obscure young shepherd stepped up to do it all in the name of the Living God. David was born into a time of national discouragement and stress. He is known and celebrated as the greatest king of Israel. But, his family didn't recognize him as such. David was different from the other seven sons of Jesse. They didn't identify their brother as set apart for God's purposes. David didn't let his family's ignorance become an obstacle. He would eventually be described as a man after God's own heart.
God saw greatness in David’s heart when others saw nothing.
God doesn’t wait until we’ve proven ourselves. He prepares us along the way. He instructs, guides even prods us along the leadership continuum. Small seemingly insignificant experiences can often have huge impact during God's divine development strategy. David's heart for God was developed during the early years of his life when no one was looking. Consider how God may have led you during your life and who the beneficiaries might be to your wisdom and counsel. Read through the Psalms for more insight to David's heart for God. You might be surprised what you discover.
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24 NIV