Warren knew that he didn’t fit in and couldn’t get many jobs, and this was
uppermost on his mind while standing in front of Mr. Pike’s house waiting to be paid for
the tile job he’d just completed for Mr. Pike. As he was waiting he saw, across the street,
an older man, Pastor Jimmy Carter, struggling with garbage bags.
At the time Warren had no way of knowing the older man was a pastor who’d
become a blessing in Warren’s life, but since he liked to be helpful he crossed the street
and said “Let me help you with those bags”.
Before Pastor Jimmy Carter could say a word Warren hoisted two bags of garbage
over his shoulders and headed towards the big dumpster in front of the Carter property.
Pastor Carter started back to the house to grab some more bags.
“Now you let me get that now”, Warren said. “You look like you need a rest
Mister, so you just let Warren get that for you”.
All the while Warren made trips into Carter’s house to haul out garbage bags, he
was hoping Mr. Pike would pay him all the money he owed him this time.
Everybody called Warren crazy, but he knew the work he did was worth more
than Mr. Pike was paying him. Still he couldn’t get hired for anything else.
Maybe it was his eyes that scared people away. They practically leaped out at you
as if Warren wanted to scream in terror. His uncontrollable tight grin showed his bad
overbites. Few knew that underneath his appearance his heart was warm and humane.
Despite knowing he would never fit in whatever Warren put his hands to he did it
with all his might. He was twenty-two, strong and muscular. But ever since that bag of
marijuana six years ago, Warren’s mind hadn’t been the same.
Even though Mr. Pike was sharp with him he was grateful to Mr. Pike for giving him
a chance to work and earn some money.
Now across the street from the Pike house, Warren finished with the garbage
bags and said, “There you go Mister. All done. You doing some work to this here house?
Gonna be nice when you get all done. Don’t need too much work. Just a little fixin up
that’s all. You need to put new tile down, put up some dry wall, and paint and that’s
about it”, Warren said.
“Hey listen. My name is Jimmy. You want a cold pop or bottle of water? I have
some in the house,” Pastor Carter said, unable to break free from Warren’s bewildered
“Yes, if you don’t mind”
“No, I don’t mind at all. What’s your name young man?”
Pastor Carter turned to go into the house. “I’ll be right back Warren.”
Warren sat down on the porch stairs with a smile. He was hot and thirsty enough
to out guzzle two camels at an oasis. He looked across the street expecting Mr. Pike to
come outside any minute.
“Here you go Warren, nice and cold. I brought water and pop. Take your pick.”
“Thanks Mr. Jimmy. Thanks for being so nice. God bless you ok.”
“God bless you too Warren. I’m sure glad you came along. The fellow I had
clearing all this garbage out didn’t make here today. God knows I needed some help.”
Warren stared at the tall lean preacher. “You believe in God Mr. Jimmy?”
“Oh yes, with all my heart. I love Him and live to serve Him.”
Warren took deep gulps of water. “My momma tells me about God and Jesus all
the time. She say God loves me strong and gonna help me stop smoking, and drinking,
and be saved one day. I used to go to church with my momma on Sundays, but she got
sick now and has to stay in bed a lot. I like church. Do you go to church Mr. Jimmy?”
“Sure do. I go as much as I can. Your mamma is right. God loves you and all of
us very much. He can saved you and break any bad habits you might have if you
trust Him. Do you believe He can do it Warren?”
“Yeh, I guess so. If mamma says He can then I know He can.”
“I know He can too Warren. Not only is He able, He’s willing. If I told you I
could pick you up for church on Sundays, would you want to go?”
“Oh yeh Mr. Jimmy. I like church. I wanna go if you can take me. I can be ready
and on time too!” Warren embraced Pastor Carter’s hand with both of his. “Thanks so
much Mr. Jimmy. God bless you ok.”
Pastor Carter looked into Warren’s candid eyes. However contorted his face may
have been, this was a young man with passion.
They talked a long time after Mr. Pike paid Warren $450.00 for five days.
The sun was setting in Chicago when Pastor Carter told Warren, “Why don’t you
come back here tomorrow. I could use some help painting and laying tile.”
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