Have you ever felt overlooked? Maybe someone didn`t notice your hard work faithfulness, ability, talent, strength, potential or gift? Or maybe people ignore you in the multitude from time to time?
As a chronically ill person, there have been many moments and still are, when I feel overlooked by someone or the surroundings I live in, and I often don’t really know the reason why.
I do not want to move in to self-pity here, by no means, but often in our world when we come across illness, disability or other differences, we tend to ignore these people as we somehow get uncomfortable with the whole situation.
I don`t know in what ways you feel overlooked – maybe in your school, in your workplace, in your community or even in your church.
In the dictionary the word ‘overlook’ is described as “to fail to notice, perceive or consider”, “to disregard or ignore indulgently, as faults or misconduct.”1
In this blog, I want to inspire and encourage you how I have dealt and am still dealing with ignorance, disregard, being overlooking and whatever other words we use for that.
I want to turn with you to chapters 9-15 of 1 Samuel. If you`re not a churchgoer or don’t read the Bible much, below is a quick summary of the story, however I would encourage you to take some time and read these chapters on your own too.
Saul became king in Israel as a young boy. He was tall and good-looking (Ch. 9:2). He probably looked like a blonde blue-eyed surfer boy, or he would be the kind who won the title of “Most handsome man”, and he would have made it to magazines in today’s times. But there was as problem with Saul. He looked great on the outside but on the inside he was filled with insecurity, fear, dominance, panic and arrogance – in another words, he never won his inward battles.2 On the other hand, there was David.
David was the youngest of eight sons. These days, it`s not a big deal to be the youngest kid, trust me. But in the time of Saul and David, it was all about firstborn rights – so imagine what it would have been like to be the youngest of 8 kids. David were overlooked by his family and other people for many years. He was nothing more than a shepherd boy who tended his father`s sheep out in the fields, all day, everyday for years! But one day, everything changed – Saul had to give up his position as King because he hadn’t dealt with his inside battles and David was anointed as the new King.
1. God sees the inside not the outside
I have noticed that people who usually appear great on the outside or in public, are often the ones who only held a position for a short time. While others who were not recognised the first time, were later chosen for a position and then made a huge impact on this world!
So often we judge and choose people according to their looks and style.
But before God anointed David as King, He said something interesting to Samuel when he was about to choose the next king: “But God told Samuel, talking about David (emphasize mine) “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 – MSG)
In today’s language David would be an “average boy” but this did not stop God from anointing him to the highest position in the country and choosing him to be part of the family line for Jesus, the Saviour of the world! David was a leader after God`s own heart. John Maxwell says it this way: “The selection of David to be Israel`s king illustrates how God often disregards human customs and traditions to accomplish His purpose.”3
Never underestimate what God sees in your heart and how He is prioritising your inside over your outside!
2. God is preparing you
In times when we feel overlooked or ignored, it`s hard to understand this. However, I personally have learned to keep doing what God has entrusted me to do and to keep fixing my eyes on the promise He has given me. I follow David’s example: he kept doing what God had called him to do at that time, tending his father’s sheep and pouring his heart into all the flocks. He was out in the field all day everyday and no one recognised him while some of his brothers were hanging around with Saul – the current King.
Later on in 1 Samuel 17, in the fight against Goliath, a big enemy of the Israelites, no one wanted to step up and fight him except David. David was ready and willing but Saul wanted to keep him away from the fight, as he thought David was way too weak – seen from the outside!
David explains why he is the man for the job in chapter 17:34-37: “David said, “I’ve been a shepherd, tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I’d go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. If it turned on me, I’d grab it by the throat, wring its neck, and kill it. Lion or bear, it made no difference—I killed it. And I’ll do the same to this Philistine pig who is taunting the troops of God-Alive. God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.” (MSG)
Before the big fight, God had been preparing David in order to be king and to fight the biggest enemy in his country. “David`s life illustrates that faithfulness in small things often results in much larger assignments and greater responsibility down the road“4
Whether people see or don’t see what you`re doing, it basically doesn`t matter at all. God sees it anyway and when we remain faithful in what He has given us in the current situation, He will somehow lift us up someday and give us all the rewards that He wants to give us. God is never preparing somebody in public; it will always be in the hidden places – when you are alone with Him!
I want to encourage you, in whatever ways you have to tend your sheep, knock down the bears and lions, strike down the Goliaths or have the Saul’s in your life – keep going, don`t give up, God always sees your hard work in the “hidden places” and He is preparing you for something much bigger than you can imagine!
Be strong and courageous.
1. Dictionary, Definitions, Overlooked by ,http://www.dictionary.com/browse/overlook
2. John Maxwell Leadership Bible, 21 Qualities, Courage, P. 340-341
3. John Maxwell Leadership Bible, Profile in Leadership, David, P. 345
4. John Maxwell Leadership Bible, Profile in Leadership, David, P. 345