Joe

Hugh Halter said, “This is how you know someone regards you as their friend…they introduce you to their other friends.”

One of the first guys I met on The Block was Andre. He’s a talented DJ and distributes CDs and DVDs as a side business.  I do believe everyone in town knows him and he is quick to say that he knows everyone.

Joe just kind of snuck up on me and it was from an introduction from Andre.  Joe started hanging out and showing up on Wednesday and Friday nights for devotions and for The Circle. We talked and if I was heading somewhere Joe would ride along from time to time. He’s a lot quieter than Andre, who happens to be gregarious and verbose and fun to be with.

At one point Joe started going to Sunday services with me.  I teach a Sunday school class at one of the local congregations and several guys from the street attend with me.  It probably doesn’t hurt that Serenity treats anyone from The Block to lunch if they go to church. Joe is pretty faithful in attending and misses only if he has to work. 

Joe is self-employed in that he does day hire jobs.  Some can last for weeks. For instance, he has redone kitchens and bathrooms, painted houses, and does lawn work. He doesn’t like to be idle but often because there is no work at the moment or the weather inhibits some jobs, he just has to hang somewhere.  It’s been nice that he hangs at our place.

Joe gets it.  He is sensitive to the needs of others.  He’s is not wealthy by any means but his generosity would shame the wealthy.  He can’t give money or possessions but he gives something more valuable.  He gives himself. He gives his time and he does it cheerfully.

We have a small place with air-conditioning, cold water in the fridge, a little bit of food in a pantry, a television and it’s for those on the street who have no place to go and need a place they can get out of the heat, cold, or rain. I have a job so I can’t be there except in my off hours and when I am free from responsibilities at home. It’s been difficult to find someone trust-worthy and faithful and cheap to watch over the place and take care of our street friends.

Joe stepped up.  He has keys now.  He keeps the place open and makes sure the hungry are fed and the thirsty have water.  He makes sure they have shelter.  He does this without any expectations.  His wife says she surprised by him in all this and proud of him. I’m proud of him too.  Plus I’m very grateful that he does what he does.

Our goal is not just to give or to establish relationships, it is to show kinship.  We are all kin-folk in this world and Joe may not realize it but he is revealing his kinship not only to those on the street but to me and all the well-off that cross into his jurisdiction.  He is letting Christ reveal Himself through him. But not just in what he does but more so in the manner and attitude that is neither haughty nor weak.  I am impressed in Joe and very happy to be his friend.

About

Don is the pastor of Serenity Corner. He has been married for 38 years to Elaine Ledbetter, is the father of six children, grandfather to 17 grandchildren, close friend of a few, friendly to most, and tolerant toward a couple of old sore heads. Received an acceptable education from Carson Newman College and University of Tennessee Knoxville. The most memorable education has been from making mistakes.