A Reader Favorite: Bro. Hodges’ Best Sermon



Bro. Hodges’ Best Sermon

The preacher stood in the middle of the muddy red clay road, staring at the problem straight ahead.   It was a long way from his pulpit, so he had no idea he would preach “his best sermon” right here in a few minutes.

This preacher standing in the middle of the road was Kenneth Hodges, my pastor as a teenager. He was a tall and lanky man—skinny with a prominent Adam’s apple, a long nose, and unruly black hair. To me, he looked like a character from a Norman Rockwell painting.

He was also the most down-to-earth pastor I’ve ever known, which is why everyone in Dry Creek loved him. He was a “what you see is what you get” kind of person.

However, his physical appearance wasn’t what made him special—it was his loving spirit and kindness toward everyone. He became our pastor in the early 1970s and soon after that became “the pastor” to everyone in the community—whether they were churchgoers or not. He had a great ability to connect with all types of people, and that is why he was revered by so many.

Bro. Hodges could preach a good sermon. . . . However, what he did best was “pastor.” He cared about people, and it showed daily in dozens of kind acts. I’ve always believed the following story of kindness was his “best sermon.”

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On the Monday of this story, Bro. Hodges dressed up in his best suit. I can still see it—a white leisure suit with blue stitching and buttons and white patent leather shoes. When he wore it, I always told him he looked like the Easter Bunny. He was going “into town” to a meeting at the Baptist Association office, but first, he planned on dropping by the home of an elderly congregation member. To do this, he bypassed the highway and went onto Joe Gray Road.

Country people can understand what I’m saying here—nothing is worse than a red clay road after a rain in the winter months. Joe Gray Road was that type of road. It was a full-time job keeping his old Buick between the ditches and navigating around a slick curve, Bro. Hodges came upon a problem on the road.

One of the local farmers stood in the road trying to round up three horses that had broken through the fence. The horses were definitely winning. If you’ve ever tried to re-fence animals after they’ve escaped from confinement, you can picture the futility and frustration of this farmer.

Bro. Hodges stopped his vehicle. I’m not sure what he thought—but I know what I’d have thought—There is no way I’m going to get all muddy in my suit.

However, that’s just what he did. He got out, joined the rodeo, and helped get the horses back behind the fence. After the chore was finished, the suit was no longer white. In fact, it and the shoes were caked with red mud and ruined—never to be worn again.

Bro. Hodges didn’t tell this story to anyone—he didn’t have to. The farmer, not a church-going man, told it at the post office, which was a clearinghouse of rural information.

Everyone who heard the story in Dry Creek told it to someone else. In a few days, everyone knew the story of the Baptist preacher helping to round up the horses. It’s true that bad news travels fast, but good news also travels pretty well.

I’ll always believe it was his best sermon at Dry Creek Baptist Church. It was a sermon preached in love and with willing hands and feet—a sermon that lives on in my heart and mind. It’s the type of story that bears repeating. So pass it on.

Kenneth Hodges was my pastor during the most formative years of my life.

Honestly, I cannot remember one specific sermon he preached from the pulpit. However, the sermon on the muddy road lives on—as it should.

A sermon preached on a muddy country road.

Brother Hodges’ best sermon.


A few years after the rodeo on Joe Gray Road, Bro. Hodges died in an accident in Dry Creek. His death occurred as he was doing what he did best—helping others. He is still remembered and loved by those of us who knew him.


“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

-John 15:13


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