Monday, 15 August 2011

God Looks at the heart

In 1884, a young American died while on a visit to Europe. His grieving parents returned with their son's body. The parents were heartbroken.  After the funeral they began to talk about a memorial for their son - not a tombstone, but something that would help other young people like their son.

After considering various options, they decided that something in the field of education would be best. It would be the kind of memorial that would go on year after year, helping to educate young people. That would be the best kind of tribute to their son.

They arranged an appointment with Charles Eliot, the president of Harvard University. He saw the ordinary-looking couple in his office, asking what he could do for them. They told him about the tragic death of their son and explained that they wanted to establish a memorial for him - something that would help young people to get an education. Eliot looked at the unpretentious couple and somewhat impatiently asked: “Perhaps you have a scholarship in mind?”

“No,” said the woman. “We were thinking of something more substantial than that. Perhaps a new building.”

“I must explain to you,” Eliot said, somewhat patronisingly, “that what you are suggesting would cost a great deal of money. Buildings are very expensive.'' From their appearance Eliot did not think they were capable of that kind of donation.  There was a pause. Then the woman stood up. “Mr Eliot,” she said.

“What does this entire university cost?” Eliot shrugged his shoulders stating a figure that amounted to several million dollars.

“Oh we can do better than that,” said the woman, who had now made up her mind. “Come, dear,” she motioned to her husband. “I have an idea.” And they left.

The following year that ordinary, unpretentious couple contributed $26 million so that a memorial could be set up for their son. The memorial was Stanford University.  “The Lord does not see as people see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart”. 1 Samuel 16:7

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