“A Cover is Not the Book”

 

cesar-viteri-426877-unsplash

 

How often I have heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” over the course of my lifetime. I wish I could say I have always heeded that admonition, but unfortunately that is not true. If we are talking about actual books, the color, the font, the size of the book, the quality and color of the paper impact me, and more beyond cost. But the saying is not really pointing to books so much as the importance of not making judgments based on first impressions.

 

I was reminded of that old saying when I recently went to see the marvelous new movie, “Mary Poppins Returns.  One of the delightful songs is entitled “A Cover is Not the Book.” If you have seen the movie, you may already be humming the jaunty tune. (If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss it.)

 

Tucked inside this delightful scene, the lyrics of the song bring home the point:

 

“He said a 

Cover is not the book
So open it up and take a look
Cause under the cover one discovers
That the king may be a crook
Chapter titles are like signs
And if you read between the lines
You’ll find your first impression was mistook
For a cover is nice
But a cover is not the book”

 

book-bindings-book-series-books-1560093I may have been more impacted as I recalled the time spent to determine the cover of the book I published this past July. But even with that I am aware what is inside is what is most important.

 

The lyrics gave me pause as I considered whether or not I have missed some books that are real treasures because of how unappealing the cover was to me.

 

The lyrics challenged me to consider how much I might be prone to judgment of people and things based on “the cover” even though I purpose not to. We would all like to say that “the cover” doesn’t matter, but if we give the matter much thought most of us must admit that influences us.

 

As I read in the Bible I see a great many evidences of it happening there, so perhaps it is endemic to humanity. Israel’s first king, Saul, comes to mind. 1 Samuel 9:2 (ESV) reads this way:

 

“And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.”

 

Everything about Saul’s “cover” appears to be very attractive, but as the story unfolds blur-books-close-up-159866and we look into his character and deeds we see there is a lot more to know.

 

When God rejects Saul and Samuel is sent to anoint another king, he goes to the house of Jesse to look over his sons. Many are quite handsome it appears, but they are not God’s choice. When Jesse is asked if he has no other sons, look at his initial description of “the cover” of David in 1 Samuel 16:11 (NIV):

 

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

 

Sounds like he is seen as “just a boy” without much credit to his skill set.

 

Of course when Samuel sees David, the description changes and Samuel noted David was “glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.”  Samuel is describing “the cover” again.

 

daria-nepriakhina-474558-unsplashFew of us can forget how Jacob got tricked into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. Leah is described as lacking any loveliness and “weak eyes.”

 

It’s little wonder we might struggle with the value of appearance or “the cover” of ourselves or anyone else. Everything that is visible is subject to judgment as though what is visible is an accurate representation of who we truly are.  Women spend a great deal of money and time on potions and lotions to make “the cover” as attractive as possible. We know every seen aspect of us can make a difference: how tall or short, how thin or heavy, skin tones, hair color and style, pitch of our voice, young or old, and so on.

 

There is more than a little chatter among women on this topic, but men are not immune. There is concern about height, musculature, weight, how much hair, young, old, deep voice or higher voice, and so on.

 

Maybe it is time for each of us and all of us to remember once again “a cover is not the book.”  We may miss some pretty amazing people, places, and things (as well as books) and also be guilty of judging others in ways we would never want to be judged.

 

“He said a

Cover is not the book
So open it up and take a look
Cause under the cover one discovers
That the king may be a crook
Chapter titles are like signs
And if you read between the lines
You’ll find your first impression was mistook
For a cover is nice
But a cover is not the book”

 

jaredd-craig-744902-unsplash

 

 

 

 

42 thoughts on ““A Cover is Not the Book”

  1. It is true we are all quite adept at judging by the cover. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie and learning the song! #readerstipstuesday

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing that movie when it comes out on DVD–it sounds so good! But, oh, how I see that the judging of others is such a natural and instant reaction in my heart without even realizing it! How I pray that we all would have the eyes of our Father and see the beauty in each soul that we so often miss! Thank you for these good words today. Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks so much, Bettie! I was blessed to see it twice….the second time was on a Wednesday where the price is $6 for senior citizens. I already plan to order it when it is available….not sure when Disney will release it. This movie is one kids will love, but they will mis many adult themes and messages in the movie including a key one about loss. (I may have something in a blog about that at some point.) Keep warm….winter has finally really arrived here in Ohio.❤️

  3. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. -1 Sam. 16:7
    Definitely something we all need to remember when we look at others.

    1. I confess I have seen it twice and after the first time, I came home and downloaded the score on iTunes and have been listening to it a great deal. It lifts my heart and sends it soaring!!!💕

  4. I do want to see that movie, because everytime someone shares about it, it’s something delightful and different!
    And I really do need the exhortation about judgment, so thank you for “faithful wounds” from a friend.

    1. I confess that I have seen it twice…first with my husband and second with a friend. I must also confess I would go see it again if that option was one that came up. The new music is great and there is a great many powerful themes in the movie that speak to adults more than children perhaps.

      That wasn’t aimed at you, my friend, but I will trust the Lord if He chose to use it.❤️

    1. Ah, yes, Mary Poppins is indeed still teaching us life lessons. The new movie with new music and new lessons reminds us of so many good things♥️

Leave a Reply to kage2015 Cancel reply