My husband is a collector of pocket knives. This means that we have knife magazines on our coffee table and pocket knives sitting our our bedroom dresser. This often leads to discussions on what he likes and dislikes about those knives. I know more about pocket knives than I ever thought I would.
Recently he purchased a knife from the internet based on it’s name and the way it looked in the picture. However, when it arrived he was very disappointed with what came in the box. The more he examined the knife the more he found it lacking. You see my husband is what is called ” a refiner” which according to the DISC personality assessment is someone who “analyzes ideas for flaws or revise projects systematically” He is the one you want on your team if you want a perfect product because he will quickly find the things that could be made better.
The company, not knowing what they were getting themselves into, asked him to give a review of their knife. So, today, he sat down to take detailed pictures to submit along with his strong feelings about this knife. As he did he told me about what could have been better about the fit and finish. Then the comment that sparked my thinking was said. “This must have been a Friday knife”.
My face must have reflected some confusion so he went on to explain what that meant. As a line inspector at a major manufacturing plant he understands that Friday is the day when workers are not doing their best work. They are both tired from the long week and looking forward to a weekend off. This will often affect the product’s quality.
As he examined the knife he was thinking that the person making it was much less concerned with how it was made and more concerned with getting it done, checking it off their to do list. To this person it was “good enough”, to my husband it was actually less than appealing. He felt that since he had spent his hard earned money on this knife he should get a much higher quality. So he decided it was worth his time to let this company know about the product they are selling because he may not buy this brand again based on the knife he received.
After this conversation I could not get the phrase “Friday knife” to stop reverberating in my head. So I asked the Spirit of the Lord if there was something He was trying to tell me. He answered by turning my focus to 1 Samuel 16 where David is being picked out of all his brothers to be King. It was like Samuel was looking at a line up of products and deciding which one was worth buying.
If it had been up to Samuel he would have chosen Eliab. Based on his name which means “God is my Father” and his appearance Samuel would have clicked the purchase button. (1 Samuel 16:6) Eliab was the oldest and looked like a King should look. If Samuel was adding to his King collection this one should be in it. However, God, the Refiner, saw something different. God was looking at Eliab’s heart.
I think once Samuel would have gotten Eliab home he would have seen it too. In the very next chapter of 1 Samuel we see a bit of the heart that God had rejected. When David was sent to his brothers in the battle with the Philistine Army and David’s heart wanted to go and challenge the bully Goliath who was defying his Lord, Eliab spoke up.
I see a man here that is not only full of fear along with the rest of the Israelite army (vs 24), I see a man who is easily angered, critical and making assumptions about the heart of his younger brother. He not only was not willing to fight for God but was also making fun of the one who did. His fit and finish was not King material at all.
I start to wonder if Samuel was to visit our church service on a Sunday morning who would he want to pick? Based on outward appearance we all look pretty good on Sunday. We dress in our best, sing the songs, maybe even nod our heads during the sermon. Some of us have been coming faithfully for years and serve in all the right places. I can see Samuel saying to himself as we walk by “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed”. But as we pass one by one will he end up saying “The Lord has not chosen any of these”
I’ll be honest there are times I have look a lot like Eliab. Looking good on the outside but carrying fear, anger, and presumption with a very critical spirit. Oh I can look good on Sunday morning but a couple chapters into my week I can show my true colors. If the One who purchased me with His own blood were to give me a review would I be found lacking?
So I look further into the story in 1 Samuel to see how I can become more like the one God chose. The one that got a great review when God said of him “a man after God’s own heart” 1 Samuel 13:14. The first thing I see about him is actually a description of his outward appearance so clearly it is important how we look to man.
First of all, I think it is interesting that it mentions that he had beautiful eyes. I have found a person’s eyes can say a lot about them. Even Jesus said in Matthew 6 that your eyes are the lamp to your heart.
I have met people that the moment you look into their eyes you feel loved. I have also met people whose eyes are filled with the hopelessness inside them. I know which of the two I preferred to spend time with. I often wonder what people see in my eyes. Do they see the light of hope I carry in my spirit through a relationship with Jesus? Do they see the love God has given me for them? I long to have eyes that clearly draw people to the source of both; my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Later in the chapter, more of who David is comes up. Again I believe they are more of the reasons he was chosen for they are the characteristics of his heart.
Like David I must be a brave warrior for the Good Name of my God. I must not be afraid to defend him everyday of my life, not just to those I see who attend my Sunday services. The real battle begins the moment we step out of our church building and become the church to those who speak such hatred towards us these days. I don’t need to defend myself at all to those people. I am called to only defend the name of God like David did; David never defended himself, he didn’t even wear armor into that battle. (see 1 Samuel 17: 32-50) He defended the name of his God and that is what won the day. God’s name, not my own is the only one worth defending.
Next, it is good judgement not critical judgement that God is looking for. We must learn to see people through God’s eyes. We must learn to see peoples hearts. Hearts that have been deeply wounded will wound us. Good judgement loves them to a place of healing. Hearts that have been deceived will try to deceive us. Good judgement loves them into truth. So if we long to have a good review by our Refiner we must have good, not critical, judgement.
Finally, I must make sure I have the last quality listed of David. I think it may be the most important quality in my fit and finish. Why? Because when God chose him and anointed him for service he was given something that helped him do what he was called to do. The powerful presence of God’s Spirit.
The problem is that we can sit in a Sunday morning service and not have this. We can attend a Christian school and not have this. We can serve on all the right boards, sing on the praise team and volunteer for all the right committees and not have this. Because we cannot manufacture this by our effort. In fact we harm the Name of the One we say we serve by not having it yet faking that we do. Only God will stamp us with Spirit of the Lord based on our desire to truly be one after His heart not based only on our outward appearance.
My husband’s biggest issue with the knife he bought was that in the small print he found it was not authentic. It seemed to carry the right name but was manufactured by an entirely different company. This fact alone has tarnished it’s value. It may look pretty on the shelf but will never be sought after by other collectors.
So I have to ask myself, am I a Friday Christian? Am I just going through the motions, just trying to get though my spiritual check list? I know I have sat in a Sunday morning service singing the songs but criticizing the outfit of someone in front of me instead of the attitude I was clearly wearing. I have sat silently listening to the sermon but glancing at the clock because I long for an afternoon nap not a fresh word from Jesus. Not fully engaged in worshiping my Savior but fully engaged in my plans for the week. All of this quickly affects the fit and finish of who God wants me to be for those He is sending me out to as His representative.
The world needs much better quality coming out of the church today. Too many have reviewed Christians poorly because the way we live does not reflect our Maker. Will our lives draw the world to want what we have to offer? Or will we make the necessary changes so many are drawn in to wanting more of what Jesus offers. Do you, like me, have a deep desire to hear the same words David heard that day when the Lord reviewed him and said: