You have probably heard of movie stars complaining of being “type cast.” Film producers recognize the normal human propensity to classify people by their appearance. If we saw Tom Selleck or Cary Grant playing the part of a night-watchman or a store clerk, we would find it difficult to believe. That is because we unconsciously judge people by their appearance. A man weighing 100 pounds and five feet tall will never be president of the United States. He may the most qualified person in the world, but the public would never elect him, even if he got through the primary process.

Of course, this is all part of the physical world in which we live. And we have to remember that this world is temporary and our lives here are very short in comparison to eternity.

Have you ever known a plain person with a heart of gold; or someone who would never be able to play the romantic lead in a movie, but who is a pleasure to be around and is kind and generous to all people without reservation? Actually, what I just described is the way a Christian should be perceived.

This entire thought process began as I was reading Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story of “The Ugly Duckling” to my grand-daughter. The story, as you probably know, is of a creature that did not fit in the society around it. After rejection, turmoil, and a metaphoric cold winter, the little ugly duckling found that he had grown into a lovely swan.

What hope for Christians! We do not fit in this world, in the society around us. But in the next world, the permanent one, the one that counts, we will be beautiful creatures. In the spiritual realm it will be our spiritual appearance that will be attractive, not our current physical appearance which is so important in this physical realm. Based upon this, we should all do our best to be more gracious and loving and improve our “spiritual” appearance.

Chapter eleven of Hebrews is known as the “Faith Chapter” and lists many heroes of faith. The author notes that these faithful souls “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth”.1 “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”2 Just as we are strangers and don’t fit in this world, the things considered important in this world, including physical appearance, will be strange and will not fit in the “heavenly country” described in Hebrews.

After the winter of this world, the “ugly ducklings” that we are, will become lovely swans in our Father’s heavenly realm. Praise His name!

1 - Hebrews 11:13

2 - Hebrews 11:16

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