|Poor Joseph A poor simple
minded man named Joseph, who made his living running errands and carrying packages was
passing through the streets of London, England, one day and heard singing in a place of
worship. He went in, having a large bundle of yarn hanging over his shoulders. It was a
church where one of the old Puritans was pastor. A well-dressed audience surrounded the
minister. He read his text from I Timothy 1:15: "This is a faithful saying, and
worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom
I am chief." He preached from this so clearly the everlasting Gospel, the faithful
saying that there is eternal salvation for the worst sinner, the vilest sinner, only
through the worthiness of Jesus Christ, the God who made all things. "Not many wise
men after the flesh, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of
the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to
confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are
despised, hath God chosen, yea, and the things which are not, to bring to nought things
that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence" (I Cor.. 1:26-29).
The well-to-do, educated part of the congregation did not pay much attention to this, or, if they did, they were only impressed with some expression which was pleasing to their ears, or the way it was presented, or with the eloquence of the speaker, but poor Joseph, in rags, and staring in astonishment, never took his eyes from the preacher; he drank in with eagerness all that faithful minister said; and trudging home- ward afterwards, he was heard to mutter to himself, "Joseph never heard this before - Christ Jesus, the God who made all things, came into the world to save sinners like Joseph: and this is true: and it is a FAITHFUL SAYING!"
Not long after this Joseph became very ill, with a high fever. As the fever raged, he tossed on his bed, and repeated over and over: "Joseph is the chief of sinners; but Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and Joseph loves Him for this." His neighbors who came to see him did not understand Joseph, for this was all he talked about. Some who were "religious" would say to him, "But Joseph, what about your own heart? What have you done? Is there nothing you have done that has brought about a change? Have you closed with Christ by acting faith upon Him?" "Oh, no!" he said, "Joseph has done nothing - Joseph has nothing to say for himself, but that he is the chief of sinners; but this is a faithful saying that Jesus, He who made all things, came into the world to save sinners, and why may not poor Joseph be saved after all?"
One man who heard Joseph talk this way all the time with such joy, requested the faithful minister to come and visit him. He came, but Joseph was very weak and had not spoken for some time, and when they told him that the minister was there, he did not seem to notice him. BUT when the minister began to speak to him, as soon as he heard the sound of his voice, he sprang upon his elbow, and taking him by his hands, cried as loud as he could with his now feeble and trembling voice, "Oh, Sir! You are the friend of the Lord Jesus whom I heard speak so well of Him. Joseph is the chief of sinners; but it is a faithful saying that Jesus Christ, the God who made all things, came into the world to save sinners; AND WHY NOT JOSEPH! Oh, pray to that Jesus for me; pray that He may save me. Tell Him that Joseph thinks he loves Him for coming into the world to save such sinners as Joseph."
The minister prayed, and when he finished, Joseph thanked him most sincerely. Then he put his hand under his pillow and took out an old rag in which were tied up five guineas (approximately seventeen dollars). He put it into the ministers hands, which he had kept close to him all the while, and said, "Joseph, in his foolishness, had laid this up to keep him in his old age, but Joseph will never see old age. Take it and divide it amongst the poor friends of the Lord Jesus, and tell them that Joseph gave it them for His sake who came into the world to save sinners, of whom he is the chief." When he had said this, he laid back on the bed. The strain of talking had been too much for him, and he died at that moment.
The faithful minister left his room, with tears running down his cheeks. And he often told this story of poor Joseph who said with the Apostle Paul, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
The Little Gleaner