This is taken from a guest post I have written this morning on the Desiring God Blog:
One key aspect in how we faithfully pursue fruitfulness is what we are hoping for. After last week’s post on Spurgeon, I was asked by someone which of his books I would recommend to begin with if they’ve never read him before. I am tempted to just say, Any of them! But perhaps that’s not a very helpful answer! If you are wrestling with this issue of what our goals in ministry should be, then The Soul Winner would definitely be a good place to start. One of the more personally challenging and instructive incidents of Spurgeon’s life is outlined in that book.
Spurgeon begins by stressing, “You must also believe in the power of that message to save people.” He is, of course, right that the heart of a faithful and fruitful ministry is a trust in the old, old, unchanging gospel message. In an anecdote he uses to explain this lies incredible power to transform our hopes and dreams for the effectiveness of our ministry:You may have heard the story of one of our first students, who came to me, and said, ‘I have been preaching now for some months, and I do not think I have had a single conversion.’ I said to him, ‘And do you expect that the Lord is going to bless you and save souls every time you open your mouth?’ ‘No, sir,’ he replied.
To see how Spurgeon replied to his student, read the rest…