Dr. Carpenter is Upstairs

Dr. Carpenter is Upstairs

In a small village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina lived a boy whose name was Carpenter. He was the oldest boy in the family. He was a strong lad who knew his way through the mountains. His bare feet were hardened to the rocks and stones. His trousers were patched and mended, and the brim of his straw hat was frayed and ragged.

One day his father took him on a trip to the city. Here he saw his first train, his first electric light, and his first big buildings. He saw the streets crowded with people and he wondered where they were going. He had always walked on ground or grassy meadows, but this city had cement walks and paved streets. He never would have dreamed that a city was like that.

This young boy wanted to stay in the city; he wanted to go to high school and college and be somebody. The father, too, wanted his boy to have an education such as he was not able to get in the country. So he arranged to have his boy stay in the home of an old friend in the city so that he could go to school. In return for his room and board, young Carpenter had to do the chores around the house and run errands.

These friends in the city liked this boy right from the beginning. When young Carpenter had finished high school, they told him that if he knew what he wanted to be, they would help him get his college education. His eyes sparkled as he said, "I know what I want to be; I want to be a doctor."

So he went to college to study to be a doctor. He studied hard and graduated with high honors. He was offered several fine positions in big city hospitals. He was urged to start doctoring in some big city. To all of this young Doctor Carpenter said, "Thank you, I appreciate your kindness, but I am going back to my home in the mountains; there are many sick people there who are dying, and I want to help them get well."

And that is where young Doctor Carpenter went. He stayed there many years until he was no longer young; he was now old Doctor Carpenter. The people he doctored were so poor that most of them could not pay him. Sometimes his patients paid him with potatoes, with hay for his horse, or wood for his stove. After many years of giving and helping others, he was an old man, broken in health and without money. He lived in two small rooms over the village store, with a rickety old stairs leading up to them. At the foot of the stairs there was an old sign on which was printed these words, "Dr. Carpenter Is Upstairs."

One morning someone went up those old stairs and called on Doctor Carpenter. But during the night the doctor had answered another call—a call from heaven. He had died; God had called him home to heaven. The people in the village and the whole countryside were in deep sorrow and many wept. With their own hands they made a box of pine, laid his body in it, and lowered it into a grave in a small village cemetery. Then one of his neighbors said, "Anyone who has done as much for us as old Doctor Carpenter should have a tombstone." Another neighbor replied, "We cannot afford a tombstone, but there is something we can put by his grave which is much better than a tombstone." He ran down to the foot of the stairs and got the old sign which had directed the sick and weary to the doctor's office for many years. Beside the grave of this much loved doctor stands the old sign, "Dr. Carpenter Is Upstairs."

The old sign by the store pointed to a rickety stairs that led to his office, but the same old sign by the grave points to another kind of stairs that lead to heaven. That is what Easter really means, that there is a heaven to which we can go. When they put Jesus' body into the grave, there was no sign there which read, "Jesus Is Upstairs." God placed an angel by the grave of Jesus who said, "He is not here; he is risen." The sign by the doctor's grave, "Dr. Carpenter Is Upstairs," means that he is no longer on earth but has gone to heaven. The sign, "Dr. Carpenter Is Upstairs," and the words of the angel at Jesus' grave, "He is not here; he is risen," mean the same thing.

It is because Jesus did not stay in the grave that we know that Doctor Carpenter would not stay there. Both Jesus and Doctor Carpenter are "Upstairs" in heaven with God. Jesus said, "Because I live, ye too shall live." That means us. And that is what Easter means to us, that we like Doctor Carpenter can go "Upstairs" to be in heaven with God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

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