The Empty Egg

The Daily Encourager, InJesus.com

Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy just irritated his teacher.

One day she called his parents and asked them to come in for a consultation. As the Forresters entered the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five year gap between his age and that of the other students."

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here." Doris sat for a long time after they had left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness.

But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family, she thought. Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy.

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares. Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.

"I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She stammered, "Wh-why that's very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your seat."

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them, "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Miss Miller," the children responded enthusiastically-all except for Jeremy. He listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground, we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arm. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that's new life, too." Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine."

Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom, "My daddy helped me," he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty. Surely it must be Jeremy's she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?"

Flustered, Doris replied, "But Jeremy, your egg is empty." He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty, too."

Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh, yes," Jeremy said, "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then His Father raised Him up."

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the schoolyard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid there respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

They That Hear His Voice Shall Live
John 5:25-29

Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself; and has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.


The Painting

Author Unknown

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.

The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction, as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again.

Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.

Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Easter holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer. On Easter morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man.

As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you."

As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had told everyone of his father's love of fine art. "I'm an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task.

True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Easter gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart.

As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received. The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation.

With the collector's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Easter day, the day he had received his greatest gift.

The day soon arrived. Art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son.

The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked. Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the good stuff." More voices echoed in agreement. "No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer.

"Now, who will take the son?" Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it."

"I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice. Gone." The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over.

Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what's going on here!" The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son ... gets it all!"

Just as those art collectors discovered on that Easter day, the message is still the same - the love of a Father - a Father whose greatest joy came from His Son who went away and gave his life rescuing others. And because of that Father's love... whoever takes the Son gets it all.

Jesus said to them, "Whoever receives this little child in my name receives me. Whoever receives me receives Him who sent me. For whoever is least among you all, the same shall be great." (Luke 9:48)


Persuasion Rather Than Force

The Wind And The Sun
Author Unknown

The wind and the sun were involved in an argument, each claiming to be stronger than the other. Below they saw a man wearing a heavy coat. "Let us see who can strip the man of his coat fastest," said the wind. The sun agreed and allowed the wind to begin. Gathering all its strength, the wind came upon the man with a furious blast, causing the coat to flap about. But the harder the wind blew, the tighter the man held onto the coat.

When its turn came, the sun shone brightly upon the man, who quickly unbuttoned his coat. The warmer the rays cast by the sun grew, the more uncomfortable the man became until he soon took the coat off and carried on his arm.

Charity To Enemies
By Clifton Fadiman

During the Civil War, Lincoln had occasion at an official reception to refer to the Southerners rather as erring human beings than as foes to be exterminated. An elderly lady, a fiery patriot, rebuked him for speaking kindly of his enemies when he ought to be thinking of destroying them.

"Why, madam," said Lincoln, "do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"

Playing The Peace Game
By Marie Louise Dieckmann

An elderly man once watched some six and seven-year-olds at play, and asked, "What are you playing?"

"War," they said.

So he told them, "How can anyone be so stupid as to play war? You all surely know how horrible war is. Why don't you play peace instead?"

The children stopped, put their heads together, discussed something among themselves, then looked puzzled and finally ran out of words. One of them then asked the elderly man, "Grandpa, how do we play peace? We don't know the game."

Maybe the reason why many people play only the game of war is because they don't know how to play the game of peace.

Pride and arrogance governs the game of war and it is played on the hard rocky ground of hatred and unforgiveness. Every fall brings so much pain and injuries don't heal easily -- if they ever get healed at all.

But the game of peace is played on the soft grassy ground of kindness and forgiveness. It is governed by love and humility. Every fall is less painful and injuries heal easily.

Slogans incite attitudes. So perhaps instead of "War On Terror", why not "Victory Thru Peace". Or, as the late Pope John Paul II suggested during the U.S president's visit to the Vatican, "War On Peace".

A man's stomach is filled with the fruit of his mouth. With the harvest of his lips he is satisfied. Death and life are in the power of the tongue; those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)



By Bob Perks

"I believe that little boy's lost!" said one woman. "Let's go over and talk to him," replied the other.

I could tell immediately, just by the look on his face. I'm sure you've experienced it. I know I have. Not just as a child, but as an adult, too.

I'm not talking about the dumb look we guys get when we have no idea where we are and we won't stop to ask for directions.

I mean that fear, that painful feeling of being all by yourself and you have no idea where you are.

That's what that child looked like.

He stood there frantically looking around for a familiar face. He was on that edge between "everything is fine" and "Oh my God, I'm going to die!"

Just as the two ladies approached him, his Mom appeared. What do you think she did?

She welcomed him with open arms. She hugged him and stroked his hair. She kissed him a hundred times.

It was almost worth getting lost.

I love happy endings.

I thought about the times I felt so lost as an adult. I remembered that empty feeling of abandonment, that dark cloud that engulfed my entire spirit. There was no one there to run up to me. There were no hugs, kisses, or joyful reunions then.

As I walked on about my business, I thought how wonderful it would be to know that those times when I felt lost there was someone who was missing me.

Then it dawned on me.


Yes, God is always there. In those moments I was never alone.

But I am human. I cry out to be heard and spoken to. I reach to be touched. How can I hear God when I need the gentle voice of reason? How can I feel God when I need to be caressed and held close?

I stopped in my tracks. I was stumped. I stood there looking lost and confused. That is until another person passing by stopped.

"Are you alright?" she asked.

"Pardon me?" I said.

"Are you alright? You looked like you needed help. Are you looking for something?"

I smiled a smile of a child of God. Looking at her I said, "I was looking for an answer and you were it."

My friend,

You are the touch of God for those who are lost.

You are the voice of God in times of confusion.

Make the next person you see feel like they've truly been missed. Even if they just walked back into the room and were only gone a few minutes.

Even if they are perfect strangers who seem lost and alone.

Perhaps your touch, your smile, your words will be just what they needed.

"I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind, but now I see!"

"I believe in you!"

The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

To Save That Which Was Lost
Matthew 18:12-22

"What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray? If he finds it, most assuredly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

"If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. But if he doesn't listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector."

"Most assuredly I tell you, whatever things you will bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever things you will release on earth will be released in heaven. Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."

Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven."