We live in an age when candidates are chosen to lead a nation according to how they look on television rather than on their ideas. This shows that what God said to Samuel still holds true. Man tends to look on the outward appearance more than he should. Character is not given the prominence it should receive; and, sadly, people often get the kind of leader they deserve.
Not only leaders should be chosen on their character; there are other callings where the heart should rank higher than the physique. This is especially true in the Lord’s work. Whether it is the selection of a pastor by a congregation or the commissioning of missionaries by a sending body, those making the decisions should determine as best they can the spiritual qualities the person or couple brings to the position. Typically a pulpit committee or a missions board will ask each prospect to send a recent photo of himself along with his resume and call to ministry. There is nothing necessarily wrong with such a request, as long as the photo is not the deciding factor one way or the other. A photo, even one’s appearance during a personal interview, should be at best secondary to what is determined about the heart of the individual.
Sometimes a pulpit committee never gets beyond a resume in evaluating a prospect. They meet him, but their impression of him is formed by the resume instead of the actual person. The one who will serve best in missions, at home or oversees, will be the one whose heart beats for God. By that is meant a heart that sincerely loves God and seeks to be obedient to the Lord’s commands. The best choice will be a person who is humble before God and man and sees himself as a servant rather than as a boss will all the answers. It will be a person who mourns the fate of those who die without Christ and seeks to be used by God to get the gospel to as many as possible regardless of personal sacrifice or danger.
The one chosen should have a heart that can get along with other missionaries and not contribute friction to relationships between God’s servants. It will be a true servant’s heart. It will be Christ’s heart. When missionaries come home and report to their supporting churches, it is sometimes noted that they are not polished preachers or necessarily good communicators with charisma. Most often, however, when one gets past their obvious inabilities and listens to what God is doing through them, one becomes greatly impressed that so many wonderful things are happening in their ministry.
The point to this is that God often chooses those whom man would never choose to bear His name before the nations. He does not often choose the polished speaker or the physically attractive or the individual who has a way with people. Instead, God looks inside a person to see what qualities are residing in the heart and whether or not that heart will live for Him and do His will in the place and among the people to which he will go. May these insights lead us to pray for pulpit committees and mission boards that they might be led by God and select more with their ears than with their eyes.