French novelist Houssaye wrote, “Tell me whom you love and I’ll tell you who you are.”
The true nature of the heart is seen in its response to that which is not attractive.
Max Lucado tells a story about a gentleman named John Blanchard. John had been in the library and when taking a book of the shelf he became intrigued by the notes that were penciled in the margin. They reflected a thoughtful soul and an insightful mind. He noted the name of the previous owner, Hollis Maynell, in the front of the book and took the initiative to reach out to her.
After locating her address he wrote her a letter, introduced himself, and invited her to respond. However, soon thereafter he was shopped overseas for his service in WWII. Yet over the next year they corresponded through mail, building a relationship with one another.
Blanchard requested a photograph of Miss Maynell, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared about her it would not matter what she looked like.
The day finally came for him to return from Eurpoe and he/Miss Maynell arranged a meeting at Grand Central Station in New York.
She wrote, “You’ll recognize me by the red rose I’ll be wearing on the lapel of my suit.”
So Blanchard sat in the station looking for the woman whose heart he had fallen in love with, but whose face he had never seen.
Blanchard said he noticed a beautiful woman approaching him and it was life-altering. He started toward her and forgot to notice that she was not wearing a rose on her lapel.
He said “A small provocative smile curved her lips as she murmured, “Going my way, sailor?”
As he stepped towards her he noticed a lady directly behind her.
She was strikingly different from the beautiful young woman. She was middle aged, with greying hair tucked in under a very well-worn hat. She was certainly not strikingly beautiful . . . and most definitely not “physically attractive.”
But yet this was the woman whom he had been corresponding with and falling in love with for the past year. So, even though he felt like he was split between the beautiful, striking woman who approached him and this lady in front of him, he longed for the woman whose spirit had companioned him and upheld his own.
He held out the book that had been the initial catalyst for this interaction and even though he felt the bitterness of his own disappointment, he introduced himself, “I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I’m so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?”
The woman’s face broadened into a beautiful smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son, but the young lady that just walked by begged me to wear this rose on my coat. She said if you were to ask me out to dinner I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test.”
In the last sermon of Jesus recorded by Matthew sums up the very message he put into actions . . . “Love the least.”
“Anything you do for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you do unto me.”
Look at who someone loves and you will see their heart.