“In every minister’s life there should be traces of stern labor. Brethren do something; do something; DO SOMETHING. While committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While societies and unions are making constitutions, let us win souls. Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, while Satan only laughs in his sleeve…Get to work and quit yourselves like men”
Charles Spurgeon indeed led the charge of “quitting himself”. A studious child, Spurgeon read the bible frequently, along with other philosophers and theologians, however, his head knowledge didn’t transform into heart knowledge for years. All that he knew about Jesus and the Bible caused him to ask the question, “but HOW do I be saved?”. Spurgeon visited many churches looking for the answer, but what he heard through their various preachings was to focus on the artifacts of salvation, the laws of the Word and an over-romanticization of salvation. At the age of 15, due to a snow storm, he wandered into a methodist church where a local cobbler took the pulpit to teach after the preacher had been snowed in. This man, in his lack of practice, read the text from Isaiah 45, “look to Jesus and live!”
Charles’ eyes were opened and he was radically changed, he had indeed looked and was now living. From that point, Spurgeon’s life took a sharp turn and as a 16 years old, was tricked into his first preaching gig. After this one time, he never had to be tricked again. Spurgeon took his first pastoral position at 17 years old at a church of 40 in the depressed town of Waterbeach. After spending two years there, he moved to London to pastor — a pastorate he stayed in until he died at 57 years old; under Spurgeon’s teaching, the church grew from 200 people to thousands.
Spurgeon embodied being a minister in both word and deed. Before he was 20 years old, he had already preached 600 times, by the end of his life he authored 140 books and articles, and 100 years after his death, there were more books in print by Spurgeon than any other English author. However, his main pathway for sharing the gospel was through preaching.
Spurgeon had the opportunity to speak to over a million people in the forty years he was in a pulpit. On several occasions he spoke to 15,000 people at once, projecting without the use of a microphone. He was delighted to do so,
“These words are God’s….Thou book of vast authority, thou art proclamation from the Emperor of Heaven; far be it from me to exercise my reason in contradicting thee…this is the book untainted by any error; but it is pure unalloyed, perfect truth. Why? Because God wrote it.”
Besides being a notable preacher, Charles Spurgeon actively cared for the people in his city. In 1854, England experienced a Cholera outbreak, in which he took to caring for the sick people of London. He also was renowned for fighting slavery, to the point where he lost most of his American audience for his vehemence against it.
“I do from my inmost soul detest slavery . . . and although I commune at the Lord’s table with men of all creeds, yet with a slave-holder I have no fellowship of any sort or kind. Whenever one has called upon me, I have considered it my duty to express my detestation of his wickedness, and I would as soon think of receiving a murderer into my church . . . as a man stealer”
Though Spurgeon has a robust resume, he did nothing out of ambition for himself or in the name of “career”. His love for people and their souls to know God was the driving force behind everything.
“Some churches have one crown, some another; our crown under God has been this — the poor have the gospel preached to them, souls are saved, and Christ is glorified. As for me, by God’s help, the first and last thing I long for is to bring men to Christ. I care nothing about fine language, or about the petty speculations of prophecy, or a hundred dainty things; but to break the heart and bind it up, to lay hold one a sheep of Christ and bring it back to the fold, is the one thing I would live for.”
Charles passion was met with many baptisms, between 1863 and 1891, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London baptized 5,676 people. Under his leadership, the church added an average of 448 members per year.
Spurgeon’s love for the church and desire to see Jesus exalted led him to start a Pastor’s college that trained 845 men throughout Spurgeon’s lifetime, some went on to start their own churches while others became traveling evangelists. Outside of the college, he supported poor pastors financially, with clothing and with any gospel-centered resource he could.
Charles Spurgeon spent his life pouring himself out for the sake of the Gospel. More than a historical figure, Spurgeon is someone that embodied Gospel-Centeredness, never letting his heart be lured away from a passionate love of Jesus that filled him with desire and actions to see that spread.