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Stories We Tell: Make Me Like Joe

By Bruce Nicola
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Joe was a drunk who was miraculously converted at a rescue mission. Prior to his conversion, Joe had a reputation for being a miserable, dirty wino from the ghetto for whom there was no hope. Following his conversion to a new life with God, everything changed. Joe became the most caring person those at the mission had ever known. Joe spent his days and nights hanging out at the mission doing whatever needed to be done. There was never any task that was too lowly for Joe to take on. There was never anything that he was asked to do that he considered beneath him. Whether it was cleaning up vomit left by a violently sick alcoholic or scrubbing the toilets after careless men left the bathroom filthy, Joe did what was asked with a smile on his face and gratitude for the chance to help.

One evening when the director of the mission shared his evening evangelistic message with the usual crowd, a man came down the aisle to the altar and knelt to pray, crying out for God to help him to change. The repentant drunk kept shouting, “O God, make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe!”

The director of the mission leaned over and said to the man, “Son, I think it would be better if you prayed, ‘Make me like Jesus!’”

The man looked up to the director with a quizzical expression on his face and asked, “Is He like Joe?"

Bruce Nicola is the associate pastor for visitation and senior ministry for the Paradise Church in Northern California