A Keen Eye

Then it came about when they entered, that he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:6-7 (The New American Standard)

We visited an operating pegmatite mine recently looking for tourmaline and other attractive minerals. Several students were startled by the fact that the outward appearance of a large stone was not necessarily a good indicator of what was inside. Once they experienced success by cracking a few large rocks and finding treasures within, two approaches emerged among those wielding hammers. Let’s call them the “smashers” and the “tappers” for lack of better labels.

The smashers went about with a heavy handed approach indiscriminately making small rocks from big ones and in the process, shattering that which was beautiful inside. More than once I heard the groans and cries of dismay as crystals were rent asunder by this overzealous approach.

The “tappers” went about lightly tapping on rocks, chipping about the edges, suppressing the urge to become a smasher. While it can be said truthfully they saw the insides of fewer stones and the piles of rubble about them were decidedly smaller, they were only slightly less successful in their attempts to preserve that which was precious inside.

Both smashers and tappers were faced with the same dilemma, how best to deal with something very fragile, encased by equally brittle, stony armor. Each experienced a measure of success before the day was out and I think they all discovered that a keen eye is necessary when looking at the surface veneer of resistance covering that which is very precious.


Lord, help us to have a keen eye and be ready to see the core values you have given those about us. Help us to resist tapping and smashing at the stony veneer and help us to allow your Word to reveal the precious gems that reside within. Amen.

By Don (Maine)