The Expository Files


Two Things I Learned From W.R. Jones


W.R. Jones, well-known Texas preacher, died the other day. It was not, however, being well-known that motivated him; it was being known by the Lord. I remember many things about W. R. Jones, all of them good and valuable to me. Two things remain vivid as I think about my experience with him.

He held a meeting where I was working (Mulvane, Kansas) back in the 1970's. It was my usual practice then, to bring a brief case full of work home every night. I would spend six to eight hours in the office at the church building during the day. Then pack up this brief case with incomplete sermons, class notes, bulletin articles to proof, correspondence, etc. Sometimes right after supper with my family, as soon as the table was cleared, I would open up this work for a couple of hours. We had two boys at the time, one not in school yet. During the meeting with W.R., I would walk out of the building after each service in the evening with this loaded brief case. On Friday night, as the meeting closed, we were standing around just outside the locked doors. I was giving W.R. my good regards and wishes. Before we parted, he pointed to the brief case and said, "you need to leave that here." We bid each other farewell. Immediately I knew what he meant and I made an effort to take his advise. He was telling me to spend more time with my family.

W.R. Jones was always impeccably dressed. He wore a suit and tie well, sometimes with a pocket watch attached to a chain dropped in his vest pocket. He was convinced that one should dress well when coming to worship, and he was convinced of the dignity of the pulpit. He was talking about this long before our society took a turn toward casual, worldly attire. Not everybody listened to what he said. But nobody ever saw W.R. dressed in anything less than his best, suitable for the occasion and accompanied by his own personal charm and old-fashioned gentlemanly ways.

Here's something typical of W. R.'s preaching. He wrote this in The Preceptor, June, 1999. This was part of an article entitled, Three Simple Rules.

"Let's talk about the remedy for the ills of society. It is simple: turn back to God and His Word. But, this is not what a majority of the people want to hear. They don't want to hear the Law of Christ preached, they don't want to open the Bible and read it for themselves, and they don't wish to discuss it with those who care about their eternal destiny, but they want the problem solved. Folks, we need to 'back the wagon up.' Let's get back to the fork in the road and take the right path. Our nation is bypassing the things that make a nation great. God said in Proverbs 14:34, 'Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people'."


By Warren E. Berkley
The Final Page
From Expository Files 14.4; April 2007