We homeschool. A scary thought, I know. Can you imagine trying to teach something I learned over thirty years ago? Oh my. It scares me too. I mean really – who remembers consonant digraphs, spelling rules, the dates and events of the Revolutionary War, and rules for mathematics? Can you say “Thank you, God, for the Teacher’s Manual and the internet?” Okay – if you remember, please don’t rub it in. Some days I am just happy to be smarter than the second grader.
Today, though, was one of those days I learned far more than expected from school.
We are studying anatomy right now, which my son loves (me too!). We have gone through most systems of the body over the past year – some of them he enjoys more than others. He is a boy and he is five. That should tell you a lot.
As we were discussing skin, we also got to talk about hair, fingernails, and toenails. Fun stuff, right? The cool thing is God taught me something!
I learned, as I probably did thirty years ago, that the part of your hair, fingernails, toenails, and even epidermis (the outer layer of your skin for those who have been out of school as long as I have), is all dead. Funny, but it occurred to me that all of those things that are dead are what we use to try to make us beautiful.
Don’t tell me you have never done so – ever worked on a tan? how about a manicure or pedicure? Colored or highlighted your hair? The list goes on. We spend a lot of money and time making some dead things look nice. Not totally bad in and of itself, but…
Then it hit home – we do that in a spiritual sense as well. We (I) worry so much about the stuff others see and many times do not take care of the foundations of those things. God knows what it takes to be beautiful. We see it in 1 Samuel 16:7, “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.”“
God has the secret figured out. I would bet many of us know it as well. Just like with our physical bodies, modern science (as brilliant as we are) has figured out that what we eat, how we exercise our bodies, and the amount and type of rest we get has a drastic effect on what we look like on the outside. We could spend millions of dollars on hair, nails, and skin. But if our eating, exercising, and rest do not measure up, out outward appearance will never be what it could.
Spiritually, God is far more concerned about what is inside, because He too knows that what is seen on the outside is a direct reflection of what we put in. What do we think about, what do we watch on TV, what do we read, how much time do we spend talking and listening to the God of the universe? What are we putting in? We can dress up our spiritual appearance all we want, but it will simply be a window of what is on the inside. We can fool people for a time, but we can never fool God.
So, today I am thankful for science. For the gracious reminder not to dress up dead stuff, but to feed and nurture the living parts. Something I need to work on.