The Testimony of a Towel

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  • I am reading Journeying Through a Jungle by Sandy F. Ray.

    The late Dr. Sandy F. Ray, who served the Cornerstone Baptist Church in New York for 31 years, was regarded as one of America’s most dynamic pulpiteers. He was also president of the Empire State Baptist Convention and vice-president of the National Baptist Convention.

    I have known of Dr. Ray vicariously. He and my father were colleagues. I have heard that Dr. Ray and my father had similar preaching styles. But I have never been exposed to the preaching ministry pastoral biography of Dr. Ray until now.

    Dr. Ray published one book, Journey Through a Jungle. As this book of sermons was going to press in 1979, the Lord called Dr. Ray home.

    I just had to have this book. You can buy a copy through Amazon for no less that $99.95!

    There is a chapter in Journeying entitled, “The Testimony of a Towel,” from John 13, where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. It is a good read with a challenging message. It also reflects clean and compelling preaching.

    Here are several quotations I made note of from this chapter:

    “Jesus was not merely washing the dust from the Judaic deserts from their feet; he was washing shackling fetters of tradition from their minds. He was washing the ancient cobwebs of customs and crippling concepts from their souls. Their feet were not as dusty as their hearts and attitudes. Their hearts and minds were dusty with selfish ambition.” – p. 33

    “Power is terribly dangerous in the hands of irresponsible people. Jesus was never power-drunk.” – p. 33

    “Humility is the watchword in the kingdom of heaven.” – p. 34

    “There are degree mills all over this nation to satisfy people who feel that a degree will enhance their seating status. Many preachers feel that a degree will give them a seat in the higher category of the clergy fraternity.” – p. 34

    “God sent his Son into the world, not with a scepter or a crown, but a towel. The record says that he laid aside his royalty and took a towel for his redemptive task.” – p. 36

    “If we would be great in the kingdom of God, we must take a towel. A towel is the route to glory. The real joy in religion is associated with a towel. The happiest people in the world are those who are satisfied to take a towel. Saints with towels build the kingdom of heaven. The towel brigade build and maintain our churches.” – p. 37

    “When Jesus returns, he will not be seeking titles; he will be checking towels.” – p. 38


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.