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I am reminded of a story that some of you reading this may have heard before. It takes me back to before our first grandchild, Kaylee, was born. She will soon be 13, so you can do the math.
As some of you know, I like to work with wood and build furniture and things, so I had decided that I was going to build Kaylee all new nursery furniture. It was quite an undertaking, but I set out to build a baby bed, a dressing table with drawers and a chest of drawers. They would all be made by hand and using oak lumber. (Oak is my favorite.)
Plans were ordered, supplies were gathered and the task began. Our daughter Cyndi, who was pregnant with Kaylee at the time, also wanted to help so that was fine with me. She has always had a thing about building or putting things together. So here I go with my very pregnant daughter on a mission to construct a family heirloom. Things went very well right from the start.
Sometime during that project though, I got a visit from the neighbor lady’s grandson Corey. He must have been around age 5 or 6 at the time, and he would sometimes just step inside my shop and stand and never say a word and then leave. But this particular time was different. He didn’t just stand, he spoke.
All he said to me was this, “Do you know Jesus?” Of course I said, “Yes,” and then Corey went on to say, “If you give him your troubles, he will carry them for you.” And then he turned and left without another word. As I think back on that experience today, there were some amazing things that took place on that simple visit from a little boy.
First, Corey wanted to make sure that I knew Jesus. That was important to him. Second, he wanted me to know that when things got too big for me to bear by myself that Jesus was there to carry my burdens for me. And lastly, he had the faith and the courage to share this simple message about Jesus to someone he really didn’t know all that well.
I’m not sure if Corey ever read Psalms 55:22 where it says: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you,” or any of the many other scriptures that tell us just how much Jesus loves and cares for us and how he wants to help us with the struggles that come our way.
But there is one thing I’m sure of: Corey had the courage and desire to share what people needed to hear about Jesus. And I will never forget that. I’m still thinking about having those words etched on my tombstone so that Corey’s message can live on to those who need to hear it.
A couple years later Corey was baptized into Jesus and I made him an oak cross on a wooden base about a foot tall. I took it to his house and gave it to him.
On the base of that cross was a brass plate that shared Cory’s message to me. “If you give him your troubles he will carry them for you.” His parents knew nothing about our conversation until I told them.
You can imagine how proud they were. I ran into his mother sometime back and she said to this day he keeps his cross with his sports trophies and other special mementos, and he still shows it to everyone who comes to visit.
So in closing, I guess I’ll ask you the same question that Corey asked me that day, “Do you know Jesus?” And never forget that, “if you give him your troubles he will carry them for you.” Corey and I challenge you today to take this wonderful message of Jesus Christ to a lost and hurting world. To be as faithful as that one small boy to the neighbor he really didn’t know very well.
And the nursery furniture? Well it turned out great, if I do say so myself. Cyndi and I did a good job. Maybe sometime you can come to visit and I can show it to you.
Brother Keith Miller is pastor of the English Christian Church in English, Ky.