Early on Friday morning, a dear friend and brother left this world to be with the Savior. Joe was the quintessential “idea man.” He always had at least two or three projects bouncing around in his head. One of the first conversations I had with Joe focused on his desire to find a way to spread the Word of God using his experience and skills. He came up with a concept that involved printing Bible verses on pens, cups, water bottles, etc., with a web site address for those who might read the verse and want to know more about the Bible and Christianity.

I thought this was a creative way to introduce people to Scripture. I was more impressed, however, with Joe’s zeal for finding a means of serving the Lord as a layman. For one not called into ministry as a vocation, he had an unusual drive to make a contribution to the work of the church.

Another quality I found personally humbling was Joe’s frequent questioning about how he might better order his life for God’s glory. He wanted to know how the teaching of Scripture should be applied to his marriage, his job, and his friendships. That was a sure sign that the seed of the gospel, which was planted in Joe’s heart by the Holy Spirit, was flourishing.

Beyond what I’ve described, Joe was my friend; and I will miss him. He was always kind to me and went out of his way to ask about my well-being when I was ill or when I was facing some disturbing development in my service as a pastor. Joe probably didn’t realize how encouraged I was by his concern.

Right down to the last days of his earthly life, Joe maintained a serious regard for his testimony to medical personnel, family, and friends. His courage and trust in the Lord will always be an inspiration for those of us who knew him. We all look forward to the day of reunion in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2–4)