The Best Advice I Ever Received

The Best Advice I Ever Received

Fred Sartin was my mentor. He was in his 80s when I was a teenager. He affirmed my call to ministry, took me with him to fill pulpits across Mississippi, gave me books, and told me constantly that my life could be grand in the service of God.

I was only 15 when he convinced the District Superintendent that I should be the next pastor of the New Salem First Church of the Nazarene. He was a constant cheerleader.

Fred was an odd bird. He believed that car air conditioning used too much gas, so he disconnected his air conditioning. Mind you, we lived in sweltering Mississippi.

On the interstate highways, he would turn off the ignition at the top of long hills and coast to the bottom before popping the clutch and restarting at the bottom of the hill. He was an outstanding checker player and carried a board in his car for games all over town.

He boasted knowing people from coast to coast and would travel to California and back without spending a single night in a hotel or buying a single meal in a restaurant. He just let his friends know he was coming. And they were very happy to see him—and play checkers with him.

I recall visiting him in his mobile home a few weeks before he died of leukemia. The minute I walked in the door his face lit up and he began talking. “Son, I am getting ready to take the trip of my life. This is what I have lived for. I could not be more excited.” And he meant it.

So when I was selected for Who’s Who Among Students, my college yearbook staff asked to print a quote that had been meaningful to me. I chose the words that Fred Sartin had told me—the best advice I’ve ever received—over and over and over: “Keep a warm heart and level head.”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?


  1. Deborah Clardy says

    “If in doubt, don’t”

  2. Denise Jackson-Banes says

    Many years ago, in a “sweltering Mississippi” church camp, the District Superintendent called for a special prayer for your beloved mentor, Fred Sartin. He was unable to kneel and sat on the front row instead. Just before the prayer for his healing began, he leaned forward a bit, cupped one hand to the side of his mouth and said, ” Just don’t pray me out of Heaven”.
    Best advice, ever. 🙂

  3. When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!

  4. This bit of wisdom I took for advice recently:

    “God puts you in places not for your gain, but for you to make a difference for someone else.”
    Deborah Story
    Treveccan July 2015

  5. Keep the main thing the main thing – Marshall Lillie (my father)

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