“Dumb Ox”

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:7

When Thomas Aquinas began to attend classes at the University of Paris in the 13th century, he seldom spoke up in class. His fellow students thought that his silence meant he wasn’t very smart, so they nicknamed him “the dumb ox.”

His peers must have been surprised when he excelled in his studies and went on to write great works of theology still in use today. Thomas Aquinas was a misjudged genius.

How could his classmates have been so wrong? They judged him only by his outward appearance. They didn’t really know what he was like on the inside.

God had told the prophet Samuel to anoint a new king to rule His people Israel. David the shepherd boy did not appear to be kingly material. His youthfulness did not measure up to the age and stature of his older brother Eliab (1 Samuel 16:6). Yet the Lord corrected Samuel’s original perception (1 Samuel 16:7). David would go on to become a great warrior and the Lord’s chosen ruler of His people (1 Samuel 13:14; 18:8; 2 Samuel 7:1-17).

When you are tempted to judge someone by his outward appearance, remember Thomas Aquinas and King David. The heart is what matters to God.

Dennis Fisher

First impressions can mislead us,
For we do not know the heart;
We can often be mistaken,
Since we only know in part.


The true measure of a person is what’s in the heart.

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