When the sermons of other men are covered with dust, Spurgeon’s will still be read—and preached! — Warren W. Wiersbe
Charles H. Spurgeon, “the prince of preachers,” is one of the most-admired pastors that ever stepped behind a pulpit, reaching over 10 million people in his lifetime with his sermons. And even after his death more than a hundred years ago, his legacy continues to influence pastors and churchgoers around the world today. Here are just a few of the characteristics that made him great.
1. He relied on the Lord in his work.
Because Spurgeon worked almost 18 hours a day, the missionary David Livingston once asked him, “How do you manage to do two men’s work in a single day?” Spurgeon replied, “You have forgotten there are two of us.” Who is this second person? Pastor John Piper explains, “I think he meant the presence of Christ’s energizing power that we read about in Colossians 1:29. Paul says, ‘I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.'”
2. He relied on the Lord in his life.
Practicing what he preached, it is obvious that Christ played a major role in Spurgeon’s life as well as his work. Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for Christ: I have a great Christ for my need.” And also, “A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.”
3. He worked himself to the bone.
He preached over 3500 sermons throughout his lifetime. To put it in perspective, Spurgeon preached over 600 times before turning 20, often preaching as much as 10 times a week.
4. He also knew how to rest.
He advocated for a Sabbath day of rest, even if it meant it was on Wednesday for pastors. “Our Sabbath is our day of toil,” he said in Lectures to My Students, “and if we do not rest upon some other day we shall break down.”
5. He knew how to prepare the preacher before he prepared the sermon.
Spurgeon often wouldn’t choose the theme of his sermon until the day before he preached. But, leading up to that point, he spent the entire week in the Word.
6. He spent time to perfect his work.
He worked on his commentary, The Treasury of David, on the Book of Psalms for 20 years. “The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all is to be continually resolving that you will do everything.”
7. He continually read Pilgrim’s Progress.
Spurgeon first read John Bunyan’s book at six and reread it over 100 times in his life. He said, “It is a volume of which I never seem to tire; and the secret of its freshness is that it is so largely compiled from the Scriptures.”
8. Spurgeon cared for up-and-coming pastors.
When someone chooses to enter the ministry, his work reflects distinctly on the Lord, which is enough to make anyone tremble. Knowing this, Spurgeon chose to start a pastor’s college and trained more than 900 men for the ministry while he was alive.
9. He was humble.
When his church first called him to be its pastor at the age of 19, they asked him to come on for a six-month trial. Spurgeon agreed, but only if it was a three-month trial—in case the church decided to go in a different direction. Even after the church grew from 232 members to 5,311, Spurgeon maintained the attitude of a humble servant.
10. He was a real man with real problems.
Spurgeon struggled with personal problems, just like the rest of us. In fact, he fought depression throughout much of his life. Though his reputation may make him seem larger than life, the struggles he faced allowed him to be approachable.
Today, his ministry lives on and continues to have a profound effect on how sermons are preached around the world.
Lindsey M. Roberts spent years writing exclusively for secular journalism, including such outlets as The Washington Post, Architect, and Gray magazine, before she first tried to write about Jesus. She’s thrilled to explore in words how everything from cleaning the kitchen three times a day to delighting in the maritime history of Nantucket is an opportunity to meet and glorify God. Lindsey lives with her husband, a pastor and U.S. Army Reserve chaplain, and two children in Wisconsin.
Christians should have the answers, shouldn’t they?
Depression affects many people both personally and through the ones we love. Here Zack Eswine draws from C.H Spurgeon, ‘the Prince of Preachers’ experience to encourage us. What Spurgeon found in his darkness can serve as a light in our own darkness. Zack Eskwine brings you here, not a self–help guide, rather ‘a handwritten note of one who wishes you well.’