Old Joe was the local derelict. No one really knew the cause of what sent him to the streets It was rumored he only had an elementary education. His disheveled and dirty appearance made him seem older than his 30 years. When he would walk by, people would whisper behind his back saying, “Poor old Joe. Will nothing good come of him?”
Old Joe spent his days searching in garbage cans for redeemable bottles and his nights sleeping in an alley. One day, Joe seemed to disappear without a trace. Some thought he hopped a train to the south, but no one knew for sure.
Ten years later, a new preacher came to town; he had a quiet and relaxed way about him as he stood on the corner handing leaflets out. On occasion, he could also be seen treating a homeless person to lunch as they sat and talked and he was also a favorite guest speaker at the local church.
After one sermon, a group of elderly ladies gathered together, commenting on how wise the preacher was. “Obviously, he came from a very good college,” remarked one lady. “Yes, it is rumored he came from a very well to do family,” said another.
The following Sunday, the preacher began to speak, “Ten years ago I felt I was a nobody. I had no real family, a limited education, and couldn’t get a job. No one seemed to care, so I, too, began to not care about my self. A woman reached out to me one day, told me about someone who DID care, God. She told me that God does not look at the outer appearance, but at one’s heart. She told me that He loved me so much He sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins and that, through Him, I could have salvation.”
The preacher continued, “On that day, my life changed dramatically because for once I had a sense of hope. I may not have had an earthly family, but I had a whole slew of ‘brother’s and sister’s’ in the family of Christ! No longer did I have to be ‘poor old Joe,’ because in the Bible, it told me I was now a child of God! (“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” – I John 3:1)”
The whole congregation sat and stared in awe, now knowing the distinguished man before them was ‘ole Joe. That day, the sharing of his story of faith, hope, and love changed many lives.
Through the example of Old Joe, we can know ALL things are not only possible through Christ who strengthens us, but, through Him, former things are passed away and the new is now upon us!
If ole Joe can do it, so can you! Call on your heavenly Father today.
– Contributed by Melanie Schurr