Beauty pageants – you either love them or hate them. For many, they are seen as the ultimate in objectification of women, as winners are judged based on shallow things like how they look in a swimsuit or an evening gown. For others, they are seen as a pathway to success for young ladies who benefit from scholarships and the exposure that pageants bring.
They always provide entertaining news. Who could ever forget 2007 Miss Teen South Carolina’s response to this question? “Recent polls have shown that a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map, why do you think this is?” Her reply is a YouTube moment. “I personally believe, that U.S. Americans, are unable to do so, because uh, some, people out there, in our nation don’t have maps. And uh…I believe that our education like such as in South Africa, and the Iraq, everywhere like such as…and, I believe they should uh, our education over here, in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa, and should help the Iraq and Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.” Miss California 2009 Carrie Prejean made news when she stood up for traditional marriage during a question from a judge during the 2009 Miss USA pageant. Many believe that her conservative view caused her to lose the pageant.
However you feel about pageants, our hope is that we would never choose our leaders based on the same criteria that we choose a beauty queen. The day that our presidential candidates have a swimsuit competition is the day I officially leave the country! Believe it or not, there are some sociologists who have done studies to determine if a perception of beauty has something to do with how people vote.
This should not surprise us as history is full of illustrations of people picking their leaders for their looks. As we begin walking through the life of David, we see that in God’s eyes, suitable leadership may actually not be the biggest, strongest, or most experienced. God is much less worried about the appearances of a person’s exterior and much more concerned with the content of their heart. Israel had tried this before with Saul. He was a buff, handsome devil, but he turned out to be a despicable fellow. When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s home to look for a king, he looked at the oldest, most culturally suitable sons first. The runt of the family didn’t even get invited to the interview because somebody had to stay with the sheep. Yet it was this kid that God would choose to be the shepherd of the nation of Israel.
There is much to be learned from God’s choice of David the shepherd. He was the most unlikely candidate, yet he was the best candidate. His resume was not lengthy nor did he have the best references. What he did have was a heart that was closely in tune with the Almighty.
If you’re looking for greatness in this life, the best place to look is not in line with all the other power-seekers. The best place to be is quietly tending to the flock God has trusted to your care. Taking the time to let God nurture and shape your heart so that it looks like His. If you can leave this life and God can say that you were a man or woman after His own heart, it is safe to say that you found greatness. You may have never been anything but a lowly shepherd, but in God’s eyes, you were exactly what He was looking for.