No. 290

If you are a sensitive person, sensitive to the world around you and especially to other people, then I believe your life will be blessed by a little story I ran across a few days ago. I might add, it matters not whether your station in life is high or low, whether you are the janitor or the president of the company, the star of the team or one who seldom gets in the game, a nobody or the most renown person on planet earth.
In the Bible there is a very important half verse found in I Samuel 16: 7b that says, “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 today 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’m here to tell you when we do this on a consistent basis we are going to miss some great opportunities as we travel the road of life.
The story I mentioned 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. But to my surprise, it was 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 this one 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 eight-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 this 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 5 children along with her husband who had been hopelessly crippled from a back injury. Each time he would come back for treatments he would always bring fresh fish, oysters and produce from his garden. Later, after his treatments had ended, he continued to send special things to me and my family by mail, even though he had so little money and that he had to walk three miles to mail them. “I’m grateful for the lesson God taught me because of this kind man.”
Hopefully you will think about this story and let it be the basis for how you deal with others, if you don’t already . Just remember, man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. I’m really grateful for that. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)