Content versus Container

A couple of years ago, I was getting ready to leave my house for an evening event and I was supposed to get to my location by bus. As usual, I tried to reach for one of my earphones on the reading table in my room.

Because I was already cutting it close to the time of the scheduled bus arrival, I picked up a random earphone and hurriedly dashed out of the house. After settling down on the bus, it was time to plug in the earphones and enjoy some music on my hour-long bus ride.

I took one glance at the earplugs and immediately noticed that one of the ear-plugs looked damaged. It seemed like the part that covered the wiring was trying to come off. This was obviously annoying because one functional ear plug would not be sufficient to block out the external disturbance on the journey.

Anyway, I proceeded to plug my ears and to my surprise, the sound seemed to be coming from the damaged side. I wanted to make sure I was hearing right so I did the earphone sound test lol. Took them out one after the other to verify which of them was working.

My test confirmed my earlier assumption that the ‘damaged’ earphone was the functional one. The one that seemed to be in right shape actually did not have any sound coming out of it.

For the rest of my bus ride, which was probably 45 minutes, I just pondered on the significance of the contrast between perception and reality. Content versus container. Book versus Cover, Ingredients versus packaging.

Out of just sitting there with this realization, there were two things that stood out to me

  1. Do not judge a book by only its cover.

I am sure we can all agree that sometimes the cover tells us all we need to know about the content but in many instances, judging someone or something by the cover can often mislead us to wrong conclusions.

We live in a world that teaches us to fake it till you make it or package yourself in a way that sells you to the viewers but there are many times when the packaging does not tell a true story of the product.

If you ever watched Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den, there were times when the investors would tell the entrepreneurs to change the packaging of the product either because it did not really show what the product was or because it would not stand out on a retail shelf with hundred other similar products.

So, essentially, there are times when a person might look like one thing and actually be an entirely different thing. It requires patience on our part to discover the content and not just shut the door once a present comes to us in an unfamiliar package.

1st Samuel 16:7 says But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or height, for I have rejected him; the LORD does not see as man does. For man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart.”

2. Develop your Content or Character.

No matter how much a package is admired, it can only remain for so long in the package. The value is not necessarily in the package but in what is packaged. How many times have you seen what looked like a nice drink and after you opened the bottle and had a sip, you almost wanted to throw up?

Sometimes, people might erroneously judge you as empty but when they get to know you, they realize that there is a lot of value within.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you got something based on appearance rather than value, nothing stops you from going ahead to develop yourself to become worthy of what you’ve earned.

If you got a job position, school admission, or scholarship because you were stellar on paper, you can develop your skills to become of equal or greater quality than what you presented.

2nd Timothy 2:15 says Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

After a good 30 minutes of thinking, I had learnt a lot just sitting in silence and not listening to any music. The sound of my thoughts was enough to drown out the outside distraction which I was initially worried about.

Heart to Heart: I want to hear what you think. Have you ever misjudged someone or something positively or negatively and how did that impact you?