Kiln Mississippi used to be just a little nothing town in the middle of nowhere. I’m betting even the majority of the people reading this might not have ever even heard of it. The second most famous person to ever be “from” there, is a woman named Deanna Favre. She started an organization that helps fight cancer. The population of Kiln is under 3,000 people. It’s about an hour from New Orleans, and has a rich history in the timber industry. According to the U.S. Census, it’s an unincorporated village, and it grew like gangbusters (over 500 people) in the 1990’s. It was named because of the kilns that were around the area due to the timber industry. I’ve never been there, but I’m guessing it’s pretty comparable to every other tiny village in that area of the south – nondescript and unmemorable.
If you’re a sports person, you may recognize the name though. Some guy named Brett, who played football for the Packers, Vikings, and the Jets for a hot second, is from there. Apparently he’s pretty famous. Yes. Kiln Mississippi is the hometown of Brett Favre. And so now, it’s no longer a nothing town – it’s the place where Brett Favre is from. It’s been talked about on television for decades, I’m sure there’s a big sign that identifies it as Brett’s hometown, and every football loving red-blooded American male from Minnesota and Wisconsin, knows the name of Kiln. Funny how things like that work.
So why am I bringing this all up? It’s fairly simple. There was another little nothing town in the middle of nowhere some two thousand years ago that got a similar upgrade. I think you’ve probably heard of it too. It’s called Bethlehem, and there’s a couple famous people from there as well. The first is a guy named David. Actually, he often goes by KING David, but you may also know him as the scrawny kid who took down a giant with a slingshot and a couple stones. He’s pretty famous, probably even more than that Favre guy, but he’s not even in the same neighborhood as the second guy. Perhaps you’ve heard of Him. His name is Jesus.
You see, the only reason you’ve ever heard of Bethlehem, is because of who Jesus is. That tiny village in modern day Israel would still be a nowhere if it weren’t for the miracle man who turned out to be the Messiah who hailed from there. He, and He alone was enough to make it one of the most famous villages that’s ever existed. His name alone brings thousands of people through that not-so-metropolis every year. Bethlehem doesn’t have a “wonder of the world,” it doesn’t have a pyramid or famous skyscraper, a world class hospital or even a Chick-fil-a. That’s not why people go there. The real attraction is Him. Jesus changes everything.
Many of you are from nothing towns in the middle of nowhere. Places you don’t necessarily want to admit to when we’re asked. But that’s all we’re hiding about where we’ve come from. For most of us, there are things in our past that we wish we could erase, parts of who we were and who we’ve been that we would give almost anything for people to never find out about. Things you’ve said. Decisions you’ve made. People you’ve wronged. All of these are, in a way, “where we come from” too. And you don’t want anyone to know.
Some of you are lucky enough to not be “from” a place of regret, but you feel like you’re a nobody who’s never accomplished anything. You’re not pretty enough, impressive enough, strong enough, smart enough – you’ll never be enough. The place you’re “from” is just like those little burgs I mentioned earlier. Tiny and unimpressive. No one would ever want or need anything from you – because you’re a nobody from nowhere.
But remember, Jesus changes everything. Just like He did for Bethlehem, Jesus wants to put you on the map. He’s way more interested in your present than your past. He’s willing and waiting to make you into someone that is a SOMETHING. Not so that you can have a bajillion followers on Instagram or be on the cover of Forbes magazine – but so that you can in turn tell people about Him. Mind you, He doesn’t need the attention, His in it for the relationship.
Jesus doesn’t care where you’re from, what you’ve done, or how long it took you to get here. When He looks at you He sees what you’re capable of. And with Him in your life, that’s a WHOLE LOT MORE than you’ve ever imagined.
So next time you feel like God doesn’t care about you – like He’s given up or grown disinterested. Next time you’re tempted to believe that you’re just a number and He couldn’t possibly use you to accomplish anything worthwhile; just remember – what Jesus did for Bethlehem, He can and will do for you too. He’ll take a nobody from nowhere, or nowhere good – and turn them into someone from someplace special. More special even, than guy named Brett, and Kiln, Mississippi.