No. 1320



It is my conviction that all along the path of life we need to hear or read stories from time to time that will lift our spirits and give us a fresh perspective of life. This is true and it matters not whether our station is low or high, whether we are the janitor or president of the company, whether we are the star of the team or one who seldom gets in the game, or whether we’re a nobody or the most renowned person on planet earth.
In the Bible there is a very important verse that includes these words in I Samuel 16: 7: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” This is something I believe we all need to think about from time to time, because this simple truth can definitely make a difference in our relationships with other people.
In our society we have come to almost deify beauty. If a person is outwardly handsome or beautiful they are given a “bye” to the next level. However, I am here to tell you that when we do this on a consistent basis we are going to miss some great opportunities as we travel the road of life. There is a story I read recently that truly makes this point, and one that should be taken to heart. It begins when a lady is visiting a friend who owns a greenhouse.
She says, “As my friend showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms growing in an old dented, rusty bucket.
“I thought to myself, ‘If this were my plant I would put it in the loveliest container I had’. My friend changed my mind. ‘I ran short of pots,’ she explained, ‘and knowing how beautiful it would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while till I can put it out in the garden’. She must have wondered why I laughed out loud, because it reminded me of an old gentleman who came to our boarding house so many times. Our boarding house was just across the street from a large hospital with an outpatient clinic. We lived downstairs and rented upstairs rooms to patients who came to the clinic.
“One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. ‘Why, he’s hardly taller than my 8-year-old,’ I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face: lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, ‘Good evening, I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from my home on the coast and there’s no bus ‘till morning.’ He told me he had been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. ‘I guess it’s my face. I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments …’. For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: ‘I could sleep in the rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning’.
“And so began a beautiful relationship that would last for many years. I found out about his occupation as a fisherman that he used to support his daughter and her five children, along with her husband who had been hopelessly crippled from a back injury. From time to time he would come back for treatments and would always bring fresh fish, oysters and produce from his garden. He continued to send special things even though he had so little money and would walk three miles to mail them.”
This story should remind each of us that man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)