In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me…I will give you rest.” The Bible is filled with scripture that exhorts the significance of spiritual rest. As someone who has a relationship with Christ, I can attest to the truth that at the end of a long day, nothing quiets my anxious mind like talking to my Creator. My spiritual rest is tied directly to my physical rest, as well. The solace that I find after bedtime prayer guides me down a slow-moving river of undisturbed sleep.
But lately, all I can think of when I lay my head down at night are the ones who don’t have the same accommodations that I do. As I write this story from the security of my own bed, I wonder how many people fall asleep outside of their comfort zones, tossing and turning over a makeshift pallet on the floor. How many children wake up each morning and are unable to wipe the sleep from their eyes because rest evaded them the night before?
Someone who has recognized and is responding to this need is Matthew Houston Lovett, a native of Statesboro and founder of Kids Need Beds Too. After growing up as the oldest of 11 siblings in a single parent home, Lovett knows what it feels like to sleep without comfort. Now, part of his mission is to provide kids in need with the beds they deserve. When he is not working at one of his three jobs, Lovett commits his free time to donating beds around the community. The best part? He builds the beds from scratch.
The idea was planted back in August when Lovett decided to build beds for two of his sons.
“I just got to thinking, if I built the beds myself then I could save money, plus it would be a lot stronger than the furniture you buy in the store,” he said. “So, I got the material and drew up some plans. Right after I finished I kind of got inspired and it stayed on my mind as far as maybe there is something I can do to help people who don’t have their own beds. After praying about it and God laying it on my heart, it’s just kind of what I knew he wanted me to do.”
With the help of his mom and wife, and through the guidance of prayer, Lovett’s idea has come to fruition. To date, he has given away 24 beds to children around the community.
Throughout his life, lending a hand has been an ever-present part of Lovett’s character.
“I was the oldest, so I was always felt like the one that everybody looked at to try and make things happen,” he explained.
When Lovett was just 12 years old, he started his first job. Even though he didn’t have to, he still decided to work so that he could help his family out. With such a mature mentality, it is no surprise that his purpose in life began to unfold at a young age.
“As a little boy, I was always told that I was going to be a preacher and an insurance agent. Then at the age of 7, I knew I wanted to be a mortician. And I’ve always worked with my hands. If I saw a house being built, I would stop and admire it,” he said.
Although these passions were present from the start, it took some time before Lovett saw them transpire in his life. A few years after graduating from Statesboro High School in 1998, Lovett’s life shifted to a darker place. Consumed by depression and anxiety, he tried to commit suicide on two different occasions.
“After my second suicide attempt, I realized that God was keeping me here for a reason. So, I started reading the Bible and praying more, and he started revealing things to me. I realized that sometimes God takes us through things in order for us to humble ourselves. We need to be in place for what it is he wants, instead of overstepping our boundaries and trying to figure things out ourselves,” he said.
Using his relationship with God as the foundation, Lovett started connecting his passions to his life’s work. In 2010, he earned a degree in business. Two years later, he earned another degree in religious studies. He didn’t stop there. In 2015, he went on to receive a degree in funeral services. Now, Lovett has an insurance company, manages his own carpet cleaning business and serves as associate pastor at Magnolia Baptist Church. Lovett’s work, along with his faith, has built a testimony that exemplifies God’s restorative grace and compassion. That much has been evident since the very beginning of this organization.
“When I delivered that first bed it was to a young man in Sardis. His mother sent me a message basically saying she had been praying for something to happen. Two years ago, they lost everything in a house fire, and they are still trying to get back on their feet. So, when we pull up for these deliveries, we definitely see the need and it brings joy to my heart because I was that child once,” he said.
After Lovett recalled his first bed delivery, it seems that the blessings are extended to both the receiver, as well as the giver.
“I’ve come to realize that when you do things for God, he provides no matter what,” he said. “God has made a way for everything I wanted to do with this organization, and even my personal life. I’m not doing it for any recognition or fame; I’m just doing it because that is what God wanted me to do.”
The gospel is not about what we can do on our own, but rather, what Christ can do through us. He uses people like Matthew as a vessel to build a simple bed, on the surface. But a second glance reveals the love that makes it a haven for growth and rejuvenation. Just another way for Christ to reach a tired child and say, “Come to me...I will give you rest.”
To learn more about the organization or to make donations, visit www.kidsneedbedstoo.org.