“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." ~ 1 Samuel 16:7b
I hope you don’t mind that I am taking a little break from writing during the holidays by sharing some poems and stories others have passed along to me over the years. This week I’d like to share two stories which refer to matters of the heart, compliments of my friend Larry Perry who lives in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I hope you’ll find them as inspiring as I did. ~ Eileen
“Faith is realizing that I am useful to God - not in spite of my scars, but because of them.” ~ Pamela Reeve
The Beautiful Heart
One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart, for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine." The crowd and the young man looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn't fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing.
The people stared. “How can he say that his heart is more beautiful?”
The young man looked at the state of the old man's heart and laughed. “You must be joking," he said. "Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears."
"Yes," said the old man, "Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love. I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared. Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn't returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges . . . giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting.
“So now do you see what true beauty is?"
The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his scarred heart and placed it in the wound of the young man's heart.
It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges. The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man's heart flowed into his. They embraced and walked away side by side.
How sad it must be to go through life with a whole heart.
A Twenty Dollar Bill
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar started off one of his seminars in Kansas City by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 2000, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you. But first, let me do this.
He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.
“My friends,” he said, “we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But, no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who do love you.
The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but from WHO WE ARE. YOU are special. Don't EVER forget it!"
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love . . .”
~ I John 4:16a (NKJV)