Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God” (Luke 16: 14-15.)
What the world considers valuable and what God considers valuable are often in direct opposition. Most esteem beauty, wealth, fame, power, and intellect above Godliness, compassion, love, humility, and genuine mercy. The Pharisees (religious leaders) hearts were wicked; they demonstrated extreme partiality toward the powerful, wealthy, affluent, and well-educated. Jesus however, fellow-shipped with repentant prostitutes and tax collectors; he reached out to the lame, and befriended many outcasts. He refrained from showing any form of ungodly partiality; rather, he continually honored and esteemed only those things God deemed worthy.
In the Old Testament, we read of a time when it became necessary to anoint a new king to rule over the nation of Israel. The Lord commanded the prophet Samuel to travel to Bethlehem, where he was instructed to choose a king from among the Sons of Jesse. Upon arriving, Samuel laid eyes upon Eliab (one of the eldest sons); Eliab was mature, healthy, and strong. The prophet, being mislead by worldly values, proclaimed, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him!” God replied to Samuel, saying, “Do not look at his appearance or his physical 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.” After God had rejected seven of Jesse’s eldest sons, it appeared there were none left. Samuel asked if all his Sons were present; Jesse replied, “Well there remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” When David, the youngest and weakest of Jesse’s son’s appeared, God said, “Arise and anoint him, for this is the one.” [In time it became clear why God chose David; he was wise and loved God with his whole heart; his faith remained unshakable and his courage unfading.]
In all cultures it is common to show partiality toward those who are wealthy, good looking, and affluent; yet to highly esteem such attributes is to oppose God. The apostle James wrote, “For if there should come in to your assembly a man with Gold rings [and also] a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or “Sit at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” Therefore, every true believer must make an effort to avoid valuing worldly things. With God’s help, we can be impartial; we can see through His eyes; we can become lovers of truth; men and women who adore kindness, cherish compassion, and embrace mercy.
“Lord Heavenly Father, guide us, and lead us in to the paths of righteousness. Give us clean hearts, that we might avoid partiality, and love what is truly good. May we turn away from worldly pursuits, and walk in Your ways; may we love what You love; may we value what You value; and may we live as You have lived. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.” God bless all of you.