Home - About Me - Salvation - Statement of Faith - Links

Testimonies - Encouragement - Inspiration - Message Archive



209th -- The Boy Under The Tree


This is a good story that shows what great results can come forth when we
help and have compassion towards someone who is not receiving the
encouragement they need. I hope this message ministers to your heart to be
caring and helping towards that one that is feeling down and discouraged.
The light that you shine is sure to be seen and reflected upon much longer
than you may think. 


In the summer recess between freshman and sophomore years in college, I was
invited to be an instructor at a high school leadership camp hosted by a 
college in Michigan. I was already highly involved in most campus 
activities, and I jumped at the opportunity. 

About an hour into the first day of camp, amid the frenzy of icebreakers
and forced interactions, I first noticed the boy under the tree. He was 
small and skinny, and his obvious discomfort and shyness made him appear 
frail and fragile. Only 50 feet away, 200 eager campers were bumping 
bodies, playing, joking and meeting each other, but the boy under the tree
seemed to want to be anywhere other than where he was. The desperate 
loneliness he radiated almost stopped me from approaching him, but I 
remembered the instructions from the senior staff to stay alert for campers
who might feel left out. 

As I walked toward him I said, "Hi, my name is Kevin and I'm one of the 
counselors. It's nice to meet you. How are you?" In a shaky, sheepish voice
he reluctantly answered, "Okay, I guess." I calmly asked him if he wanted
to join the activities and meet some new people. He quietly replied, "No,
this is not really my thing."

I could sense that he was in a new world, that this whole experience was 
foreign to him. But I somehow knew it wouldn't be right to push him either.
He didn't need a pep talk, he needed a friend. After several silent
moments, my first interaction with the boy under the tree was over.

At lunch the next day, I found myself leading camp songs at the top of my
lungs for 200 of my new friends. The campers eagerly participated. My gaze
wandered over the mass of noise and movement and was caught by the image 
of the boy from under the tree, sitting alone, staring out the window. I
nearly forgot the words to the song I was supposed to be leading. At my 
first opportunity, I tried again, with the same questions as before: "How
are you doing? Are you okay?" To which he again replied, "Yeah, I'm
alright. I just don't really get into this stuff". As I left the cafeteria,
I too realized this was going to take more time and effort than I had
thought - if it was even possible to get through to him at all. 

That evening at our nightly staff meeting, I made my concerns about him 
known. I explained to my fellow staff members my impression of him and 
asked them to pay special attention and spend time with him when they could.

The days I spend at camp each year fly by faster than any others I have 
known. Thus, before I knew it, mid-week had dissolved into the final night
of camp and I was chaperoning the "last dance". The students were doing 
all they could to savor every last moment with their new "best friends" -
friends they would probably never see again. 

As I watched the campers share their parting moments, I suddenly saw what
would be one of the most vivid memories of my life. The boy from under the
tree, who stared blankly out the kitchen window, was now a shirtless 
dancing wonder. He owned the dance floor as he and two girls danced. I 
watched as he shared meaningful, intimate time with people at whom he 
couldn't even look at just days earlier. I couldn't believe it was him. 

In October of my sophomore year, a late-night phone call pulled me away 
from my chemistry book. A soft-spoken, unfamiliar voice asked politely,
"Is Kevin there?" 

"You're talking to him. Who's this?" 

"This is Tom Johnson's mom. Do you remember Tommy from leadership camp? 

The boy under the tree. How could I not remember? 

"Yes, I do", I said. "He's a very nice young man. How is he?" 

An abnormally long pause followed, then Mrs. Johnson said, "My Tommy was 
walking home from school this week when he was hit by a car and killed." 
Shocked, I offered my condolences. 

"I just wanted to call you", she said, "because Tommy mentioned you so many
times. I wanted you to know that he went back to school this fall with 
confidence. He made new friends. His grades went up. And he even went out
on a few dates. I just wanted to thank you for making a difference for 
Tom. The last few months were the best few months of his life." 

In that instant, I realized how easy it is to give a bit of yourself every
day. You may never know how much each gesture may mean to someone else. I
tell this story as often as I can, and when I do, I urge others to look 
out for their own "Boy under the tree." 

By David Coleman and Kevin Randall

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus declares
"You are the light of the world. A city that
is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it 
under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in 
the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works and glorify your Father in heaven."

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; 
love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does
not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in
iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…"

Luke 6:35-37 Jesus declares
"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, 
hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will
be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 
Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, 
and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

John 13:34-35 Jesus says
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this
all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

All scriptures can be found in the New King James Version.

Today's Selected Poem: THIS MOMENT
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/inpoem45.htm

Today's Selected Testimony: WHO WILL DELIVER ME?
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony112.htm

In Christ's Service, 

Dwayne Savaya 
Gods Work Ministry 


Previous Message

Next Message


Back to E-mail Message Archive Contents 5