I am reading J.D. Grey’s Epitaphs for Eager Preachers. It was written before I was born – in 1972. I recently saw it on the pastor’s shelf where I was preaching. And the title caught my attention.

The late Dr. James David Grey was the pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans for 35 years and president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention in 1951-52. At forty-four, he was the youngest person ever elected to the SBC presidency.

Beyond that, he apparently went by initials. Way cool.

Early in the Epitaphs, Grey quotes an anonymous piece called “Pertinent Precepts for Pastors” about the activities and appearance of the preacher.

Here it is…

Pray every night and shave every morning.

Keep your conscience clean, and your linen.

Let your light shine and shine your shoes.

Press your advantages, your opportunities, and your trousers.

Brush the cobwebs from your brain and the dandruff from your collar.

A delinquent debt in a parish is like an addled egg in an omelet.

Be poor in spirit but not in vocabulary.

You can’t put fire in your sermons unless there is fire in your heart.

It is better to lose a good fight than to win a bad one.

Call in the homes of men if you would have men call in the House of God.

The approval of God is more to be desired than the patronage of a rich, unscrupulous pewholder.

Always be content with what you have but never with what you are.

J.D. Grey, Epitaphs for Eager Preachers, pp. 20-21