When Samuel was commissioned by God to anoint the next king of Israel in 1 Samuel 16, he went to the house of Jesse. When Samuel saw Jesse’s oldest son Eliab, he thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before me!” (16:6), but God had a different idea. He told Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as man sees: man looks at outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

You know how the story ends—the runt of the litter, little David is selected to be the next king of Israel. By the power of God he is the conqueror of giants and kingdoms. Were it not for God’s heart-piercing gaze, Samuel would never have given him the time of day.

It’s easy to dismiss people as useless or worthless or less valuable—but this story serves as a cautionary tale. We can’t see inside the hearts of those around us. Only God can see the result of his plan.

Gideon was called as he was hiding in a winepress. Abraham was called in old age. David was anointed while the current king still sat on his throne. Jonah preached repentance after his time in the belly of a fish. I promise you that God can work in your life. Have you invited him in?