Do looks count in leadership?

Isaiah 51-55

Focus: Is. 53:1-2, Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the LORD’s power revealed through him? He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him.

Have you ever noticed that some of the world’s greatest leaders are often beautiful or handsome? Or they have some sort of a commanding presence? Even in the Church, it seems that the most popular pastors today are tall and good-looking.

This is nothing new. In Biblical times looks counted. King Saul was a tall man who was considered beautiful in his time. His stature was intimidating, and he was the first King of Israel. This trend was present throughout Israel’s history and was present in surrounding cultures of the time.

So what does that mean for those of us who are just average? Can average-lookers serve God in a dynamic way? It is true that being good looking and tall can help stack one’s leadership deck, and for some reason such features are dominating. It really is natural for good looks and leadership to be a combination.

However, physical features do not necessarily command influence. What stirred my heart as I was reading through this passage was that the single greatest influence/ influencer in the world, Jesus Christ, was not much to look at. Check it out.

In Isaiah 53, this great prophecy describes God’s suffering servant (Jesus Christ) as one who had no stately form or majesty that would catch our attention. In other words, this person who Isaiah was writing about was less than stunning in his physical appearance. His stature probably did not command attention in the same way that great military leaders did in his day. This suffering servant was no looker.

In fact, there was nothing physically pleasant about this servant that would compel others to follow him. Scripture explicitly states that. This should clue us in that in God’s economy, looks are not priority. They are neutral. Even while Jesus was plain in his appearance, he sprouted up like a twig before God. His influence came through the Lord’s power revealed through him.

The bottom line is that relying on looks is vain. Good-looking people can be ugly leaders or great leaders. More than anything, we can see that God values humble servant leadership for His people. So, if you are attractive, great. Use it to your advantage to influence others through humble servant leadership. If you are average or less than average in your looks, great! Use it to your advantage through humble servant leadership that is empowered by God.

The single-greatest influencer in this world was plain, and may have even been…. dare I say…. ugly. But he was empowered by God. The truth is that anyone who is empowered by the Lord can be useful in a dynamic way. I have to ask, “What is fueling your life and how is it working in your sphere of influence?”


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