by Charles H. SpurgeonSpurgeon on the Prayer of Jabez - Part 5 of 5
Spurgeon on the Prayer of Jabez - Part 5 of 5
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) was widely acknowledged as "the prince of preachers"-though he himself only wanted to be a "John Ploughman," keeping his hand to the plow and plowing a straight furrow. The son and grandson of preachers, he was converted at age 16 when admonished to "look to Jesus!" He began preaching at a Baptist chapel in Cambridge the next year, and at 20 he was called to the New Park Street Church in London. In 1861, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, which seated 6,000 persons, was built to accommodate his congregation. His books of sermons and devotions are still very much in demand.
With regard to our work and service, I think our prayer should always be, "Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed!" It is lamentable to see the work of some good men, though it is not ours to judge them, how pretentious, how unreal it is. It is really shocking to think how some men pretend to build up a church in the course of two or three evenings. They will report, in the corner of the newspapers, that there were forty-three persons convinced of sin, and forty-six justified, and sometimes thirty-eight sanctified; I do not know what besides of wonderful statistics they give as to all that is accomplished.
I have observed congregations that have been speedily gathered together, and great additions have been made to the church all of a sudden. But what has become of them? Where are those churches at the present moment? The dreariest deserts in Christendom are those places that were stimulated by the patent fertilizers of certain revivalists.
The whole church seemed to have spent its strength in one rush and effort after something, and it ended in nothing at all. They built their wooden house, and piled up the hay, and made a stubble spire that seemed to reach the heavens, and there fell one spark, and all went away in smoke-and he that came to labor next time, the successor of the great builder, had to get the ashes swept away before he could do any good.
The prayer of every one that serves God should be, "Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed." Plod on, plod on. If I only build one piece of masonry in my life, and nothing more, if it be gold, silver, or precious stones, it is a good deal for a man to do. Just to build even one little corner, which will not show, is a worthy service. It will not be much talked of, but it will last. There is the point: it will last. "Establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it" (Ps. 90:17). What God establishes will stand, but what men build without His establishment will certainly come to nought. "Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed!"
Sunday-school teacher, be this your prayer. Tract distributer, local preacher, whatever you may be, dear brother or sister, whatever your form of service, ask the Lord that you may not be one of those plaster builders using sham composition that only requires a certain amount of frost and weather to make it crumble to pieces. If you cannot build a cathedral, build at least one part of the marvelous Temple that God is piling for eternity, which will outlast the stars.
I have one thing more to mention:
Blessings indeed are such blessings as come from the pierced Hand; blessings that come from Calvary's bloody tree, streaming from the Savior's wounded side: your pardon, your acceptance, your spiritual life. The bread that is meat indeed, the blood that is drink indeed, your oneness with Christ, and all that comes of it-these are blessings indeed. Any blessing that comes as the result of the Spirit's work in your soul is a blessing indeed. Though it humbles you, though it strips you, though it kills you, it is a blessing indeed. Whatever the Spirit of God does, it is a blessing indeed. Anything that He does, accept it; do not be dubious of it; but pray that He may continue His blessed operations in your soul.
Whatsoever leads you to God is in like manner a blessing indeed. Riches may not do it. There may be a golden wall between you and God. Health will not do it. Even the strength and marrow of your bones may keep you at a distance from your God. But anything that draws you nearer to Him is a blessing indeed. What though it be a cross that raiseth thee? Yet if it raises you to God it shall be a blessing indeed.
Anything that reaches into eternity, and prepares you for the world to come; anything that we can carry across the river, the holy joy that is to blossom in those fields, the pure cloudless love of the brotherhood which is to be the atmosphere of truth for ever-anything of this kind is a blessing indeed.
And anything which helps me to glorify God is a blessing indeed. If I am sick, and that helps me to praise Him, it is a blessing indeed. If I am poor, and I can serve him better in poverty than in wealth, it is a blessing indeed. If I am in contempt, I will rejoice in that day and leap for joy, if it be for Christ's sake: it is a blessing indeed. "Oh that we may be blessed indeed!"
Now, I leave you with these three words: "Search." See whether the blessings are blessings indeed, and be not satisfied unless you know that they are of God, tokens of His grace, and earnests of His saving purpose. "Weigh." Whatever you have, weigh it in the scale, and ascertain if it be a blessing indeed, conferring grace upon you and causing you to abound in love and in every good word and work. And lastly, "Pray." Pray that this prayer may mingle with all your prayers, that whatsoever God grants or whatever He withholds you may be blessed indeed.
Adapted from Sermon No. 994, Volume 17, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, delivered in 1871