"He's Not Elderly!" (1 Samuel 16:7)

The hospital tumor board is a weekly meeting where physicians from multiple specialties present their problematic cancer cases for review and to coordinate treatment review. Present at such meetings are surgical pathologists, oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, and any interested physician. Many of these interested physicians are retired physicians who wish to stay current with medical knowledge.

When I first began my private practice, I was 32 years old and one of the younger physicians attending the tumor board. During one session, I presented the history of the patient and began, “This is an elderly 68 year old man with a history of….”

“He’s not elderly!”

Before I could even finish my sentence, a chorus of the retired physicians, all in their 60’s to 80’s, vehemently expressed their outrage at my statement! Major faux pas! I quickly apologized and attempted to finish the history but to no avail as additional sarcastic comments were hurled in my direction.

“Wait until you’re his age! Then we’ll see if you think he’s elderly!”

I am not a very politically correct person but in this instance, I clearly should have been more sensitive to my audience.

Casually judging someone by their appearance can be a sign of great ignorance. Samuel the prophet was also quick to judge the sons of Jesse as God led him to anoint the next king of Israel. God rejected the first 7 sons of Jesse, all of whom Samuel thought would have made excellent kings, based solely upon their appearance.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

Samuel learned that God looks at a person’s heart and not their appearance. This is a good reminder for all of us when we speak of others or meet someone for the first time. But one can only do this if we have God’s Holy Spirit indwelling within us. And this can only happen if we confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. To see others the way God see us; this is a magnificent promise from God!

By the way, now, whenever I present the history of any patient, I do not add any adjectives and simply state their age. Sometimes you can teach an “old” dog new tricks.

Love and seek the Lord; seek His will in your life.