Charles Spurgeon (1834 – 1892) is one of the best-known preachers of the nineteenth century. His success as a pastor was founded in part on a God-given gift of oratory and his faithfulness in proclaiming the Word through expository sermons. Spurgeon defined success in ministry in terms of evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power working among men. In this excerpt from a sermon given to Sabbath-school teachers, he stresses the importance of faith combined with obedience.
It is always an act of faith to sow seed; because you have, for the time, to give it up, and receive nothing in return. The farmer takes his choice seed-corn, and throws it into the soil of his field. He might have made many a loaf of bread with it; but he casts it away. Only his faith saves him from being judged a maniac: he expects it to return to him fifty-fold. If you had never seen a harvest, you would think that a man burying good wheat under the clods had gone mad; and if you had never seen conversions, it might seem an absurd thing to be constantly teaching to boys and girls the story of the Man who was nailed to the tree. We preach and teach as a work of faith; and, remember, it is only as an act of faith that it will answer its purpose. The rule of the harvest is, “According to thy faith, be it unto thee.” Believe, dear teacher, believe in the gospel. Believe in what you are doing when you tell it. Believe that great results from slender causes spring. Go on sowing your mustard seed of salvation by faith, expecting and believing that fruit will come thereof.1
1 C. H. Spurgeon, “The Mustard Seed: A Sermon for the Sabbath-School Teacher,” in The Miracles and Parables of Our Lord, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2003), 709.