A new school year has just begun. For students and teachers, life just got busy again. There are classes, papers, meetings, and a constellation of other responsibilities that we must squeeze into our schedules.
Charles Spurgeon knew the feeling.
Every Friday afternoon from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Spurgeon lectured to his ministerial students at the Pastors’ College (now Spurgeon’s College). But he didn’t just leave after his lecture. For two hours after class, he spent time mentoring students before having to depart for his 7:00 pm business meeting at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
“Lead me not into temptation means, to me, ‘Bring me not into a committee.’”
Time management was sacred for Spurgeon. His declining health placed irrefutable boundaries around the limits of his productivity and caused him to live in the reality of his inevitable death. Spurgeon once said, “I shall soon be useless. I shall have to keep my bed.”
That’s why Spurgeon scheduled his week carefully. He often declined speaking invitations, like in 1873 when Yale University invited him to deliver the famous Lyman Beecher Lectures.
For those juggling the tasks of a new academic semester, here are ten Spurgeon quotes to keep us spiritually and intellectually on the right track.
1. “Advice to a thirsty soul. Try coffee.”
2. “You shall lay your plans, and arrange your machinery, and start your schemes; but without the Lord you will do nothing.”
3. “Do not be a dummy.”
4. “We miss a thousand blessings because we are too busy to commune with God. We are here, there, and everywhere, except where we ought to be.”
5. “We can find a thousand flaws in our best work.”
6. “I commend to you the study of instructive books, but above all I commend the study of Christ. Let Him be your library.”
7. “If the Lord Jesus Christ can put up with you, you ought to be able to put up with anybody.”
8. “Be punctual. As for myself, I never mean to be the late Mr. Spurgeon as long as I live.”
9. “Beware of beginnings: he who does not take the first wrong step will not take the second.”
10. “We see nothing truly till Jesus is our light. Use this telescope of the cross, and you shall see far and clear.”
A Final Word
Spurgeon never received a university degree, and yet few professors in England burned more calories or candles writing, teaching, and preparing manuscripts for publication.
“Work on, worker! You have scarce time to finish your day’s work. Waste not a second. Throw not away these priceless hours. Speed! Speed! Speed!”
To be sure, Spurgeon’s eidetic memory allowed him to digest, catalogue, and instantly recall worlds of information lost on lesser intellects. Yet the greatest engine driving Spurgeon forward was not his brain, but his soul.
Spurgeon had a calling, not a career. And for those of us who share that calling—that vocation—let’s start this semester, as the Victorians used to say, “Full steam ahead!”
Check out Volume 1 of Spurgeon’s Lost Sermons (Volume 2 debuts in September 2017)