Here is an account of the Founder of Harvard, Thomas Shepard (1605–1649). One midnight, towards the end of his life, Shepard was found lying on his face in his study with a copy of the New England Gazette crushed in his hands. The reason was afterwards known. At the same time when a sermon of Shepard’s was printed in the Gazette, his close friend, Mr. T. H. also had his printed. And it became well-known that the latter was more eloquent and better in English than the former! That midnight’s paper contained an especially beautiful sermon of T. H. and as Shepard tried first not to read it, then turned in prayer to try to read it, he could not, and fell on his face as at Gethsemane.[1]

 

Many times people determine their self-worth, whether they are successful or not, sometimes whether they believe God is acting favorably towards them or not based on how others represent themselves. Sometimes skin color or length of hair is compared, what someone else’s drive, or the house they live in; etc. The scriptures teach us that those temporary things should never define us. David who was not tall and muscular like Saul but was short and stubby said these words; “For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Ps 139:13-14; NASU)

 

Paul the scriptures seem to imply that he was not easy on the eyes; “Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. …………. I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.” (Galatians 4:14-16; NIV) He was not even impressive to listen to; “For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” (2 Corinthians 10:10-11; NIV) The scriptures also teach that Christ was not easy to look at either. “………. that we should look upon Him nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” (Isaiah 53:2c). 

 

Our accomplishments are not defined by others. Our success depends on how much we allow Christ to fine tune His design; “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37; Philippians 4:13; 1 John 4:4). He designed us so He best knows our potential (Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:58). Our success is not measured by our surroundings it is measured by how much we allow His design to shape us; “for in Him we live and move and exist, …” (Acts 17:28a). It is when we abide in Him we bear much fruit (John 15:4-5).