Attaining Beauty

 In All Church of God, Columns

Logo: For Leaven's Sake

By Sam Collins

I am not a particularly attractive human being. Sadder still, I was not even a cute baby. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that Dad called his insurance agent to make sure that all of the household mirrors were covered before he allowed Mom to bring me home from the hospital.

I don’t usually begrudge the pretty people their magazine-cover looks—although perhaps I should. Some studies suggest that good looks are just as likely to bolster career success as hard work and talent. That even extends beyond vocations that obviously depend on a breathtaking exterior (such as being a movie star or gesturing toward merchandise on TV quiz shows).

Though biblical archeologists have failed to turn up any eight-by-ten glossies, the Good Book indicates that a number of its prominent characters were fair of face and form. Among those renowned for their pleasing bone structures and glowing skin tones were David, Daniel, Esther, Saul, Rachel, Absalom, and Bathsheba.

Note that being included in this scriptural catalog of the comely did not necessarily mean that the individual possessed anything more than an ultrathin veneer of physical beauty. Absalom, as one example, was a bona fide Hebrew hunk, in addition to being the son of King David. Since patricide seemed to be his preferred method of career advancement, however, he was not the kind of boy to swell a parent’s heart with pride.

Although the Scriptures at times refer to those who possessed physical glamour, it is obvious that God prefers loveliness of spirit to straight teeth, shimmering hair, and dimpled cheeks. Though it conflicts with the values of our popular culture, it is better to have a radiant soul than a ravishing surface.

The book of Matthew contains the account of a woman who bathed the feet of Jesus with an expensive perfume. Significantly, the passage does not offer an evaluation of her figure or facial features. We are told, however, that Jesus made this comment about her: “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Matt 26:10 NIV).

In our society, a lot of people waste untold time, money, and effort trying to improve the features that heredity, time, and wind erosion have foisted on them. Despite their exertions, many still end up with faces that could curdle distilled water.

Perhaps we would be better advised to pursue a spiritual makeover in order to improve the texture and contours of our souls. We cannot all look like male or female runway models, but, as the behavior of the woman in the Matthew account suggests, we can all do beautiful things.

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Church of God Ministries or, at points, even the writer, but are written with tongue firmly planted in cheek to hopefully provoke a leavening bit of laughter and a smidgen of thought.

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