Blog Entry

9 Spurgeon Quotes on Hard Work

By Ed Romine Aug 22, 2019

“Hard work is a splendid thing.” As Charles Haddon Spurgeon proclaimed these words to his congregation at The Metropolitan Tabernacle they were doubtlessly heard by the mass of blue-collared workers who attended. For Spurgeon, being a hard worker was a vital aspect of one’s Christianity. All work done by believers was “hard work,” but it was also “hot work,” work characterized by an intense zeal to serve and please Jesus Christ. For Spurgeon, the notion “that hard work in attending to ordinary business is not spiritual-minded in a Christian” was “nonsense.” He believed that work was not a hindrance to faith, rather, it was “an exhibition and display of it.” And to do such work “the heart must be set on fire.”

           

Spurgeon also believed that hard work done for Jesus produced humility. “Try hard work” was his exhortation to those desiring humility. Indeed, he wanted to stoke the holy ambitions of his congregation rather than quench them. After all, he warned that “There are others who think that laziness is humility,” but such listless laziness produced a “miserable counterfeit” humility.

           

In Spurgeon’s view, one’s work ethic was directly connected to personal holiness. He affirmed that, “He who does not work is not a righteous man, for he is out of accord with that which makes for righteousness.” Simply, the tree should be judged by its fruit. A transformed life should result in transformed living. And since Spurgeon saw work as a blessing he called his hearers to “thank God for opportunities for diligence” and to resist idleness. After all, “work is man’s proper condition.”

           

Furthermore, personal holiness itself was hard work. But it was hard work which benefited the church. Spurgeon was so bold to say that if each individual member would make sure his own life was characterized by holiness, “the church, as a whole, need fear nothing.” Indeed, a holy church is a happy church, a healthy church, and a church of Christians who “live in [Jesus] an active life of doing good.”

 

Spurgeon also knew that “those who do not intend to work always find some excuse.” He believed that laziness damaged both one’s occupation and one’s spiritual health as he asserted that “Those who are slothful in business are also slothful about their soul.” He knew that slothfulness was a holistic problem since it blighted the whole man. He declared, “there is no disease in the world worse than laziness.” Such a disposition was antithetical to Christ who was always “about his father’s business” because “Jesus is no idler.”

           

But slothfulness was also harmful and sinful towards one’s family and friends. Simply, a man who was “unjust to his employers” was “usually also wrong to his wife and family.” Such slothfulness often seared one’s conscience as well, which resulted in “[rusting] the edge off from one’s mind.” No one was to be “ashamed of an honest calling” for “labour is honourable” and pleasing to the Lord.

 

The Christian life is a hard-fought war of “stern conflict and battle” and Christians need their respective local churches to labor together in the “hot work” of this present life. In Spurgeon’s view, the labor below, fraught with difficulty, would one day be eclipsed by the labor above. Spurgeon believed that service to the Lord did not cease at death, rather it was “a fitting prelude to a life of heavenly activity up there.” And so, in the present life, Spurgeon called Christians to “Throw your whole soul into the service of God” while “resting upon him.” As Spurgeon said, “The best and the wisest thing in the world is to work as if it all depended upon you, and then trust in God, knowing that it all depends upon him.” In honor of Spurgeon’s legacy of diligent service, here are nine quotes on hard work from the “Prince of Preachers.”

 

 

1. “It is one of the first and last qualifications of a good workman for God that he should put his heart into his work.”

 

2. “Hard work will do almost everything; but in God’s service it must not only be hard work, but hot work. The heart must be on fire.”

“It is one of the first and last qualifications of a good workman for God that he should put his heart into his work. I have heard mistresses tell servants when polishing tables that elbow-grease was a fine thing for such work; and so it is. Hard work is a splendid thing. It will make a way under a river, or through an Alp. Hard work will do almost everything; but in God’s service it must not only be hard work, but hot work. The heart must be on fire.”

3. “I prescribe to any of you who seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus.”

“A plenitude of grace is a cure for pride. Those who are empty, and those especially who have little or nothing to do, may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but those who are called to the stern work of ministering among the sons of men, will often mourn their weakness, and in the sense of that weakness and unworthiness, they will go before God and confess that they are less than the least of all saints. I prescribe to any of you who seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus. If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ. You will come back from the proclamation thankful that you were permitted to attempt it, but crying, ‘Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm the Lord revealed?’ and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are.”

4. “Nobody gets on in the world who is half-hearted.”

“Nobody gets on in the world who is half-hearted. If a man wants money he must hunt for it morning, noon, and night. If a man longs for knowledge he cannot take a book and ladle it into his brain with a spoon: he must read and study if he is to be a scholar. If a man desires to rise in such an age as this, he cannot do it without stern labor. Great discoverers, eminent artists, and powerful orators have all been men of hard work.”

5. “The best preparation for sleep, the healthiest soporific, is hard work, and one of the best things to prepare us for sleeping in Jesus, is to live in him an active life of going about doing good.”

“Preparation for death does not mean going alone into the chamber and retiring from the world, but active service, ‘doing the duty of the day in the day.’ The best preparation for sleep, the healthiest soporific, is hard work, and one of the best things to prepare us for sleeping in Jesus, is to live in him an active life of going about doing good. The attitude in which I wish death to find me is, with light trimmed, and loins girt, waiting and watching; at work, doing my allotted task, and multiplying my talent for the master’s glory.”

6. “The best and wisest thing in the world is to work as if it all depended upon you, and then trust in God, knowing that it all depends upon him.”

“The best and the wisest thing in the world is to work as if it all depended upon you, and then trust in God, knowing that it all depends upon him. He will not fail us, but we are not therefore to fold our arms and sit still. He will not forsake us; we are not, therefore, to go upstairs to bed and expect that our daily bread will drop into our mouths…. Oh no, no, no, no, God does not pander to our laziness, and an, man who expects to get on in this world with anything that is good, without work, is a fool. Throw your whole soul into the service of God, and then you will get God’s blessing if you are resting upon him.”

7. “Lazy people always find fault with their tools, and those who do not intend to work always find some excuse.”

“Lazy people always find fault with their tools, and those who do not intend to work always find some excuse, or other; and then they make up for their laziness by having a delicious spiritual dream. Half the nominally Christian people about us are dreaming; and they consider that they are thus doing the work of the Lord. They are only doing it deceitfully by putting dreaming into the place of real service.”

8. “Some people seem to think that hard work attending to ordinary business it not spiritual-minded in a Christian. Nonsense! Out with that difficulty, if any of you are troubled by it.”

“Follow Christ by all manner of means when he bids you, but when there is nothing to do in the service of Christ come back to fishing again. Oh! but some people seem to think that hard work in attending to ordinary business is not spiritual-minded in a Christian. Nonsense! Out with that difficulty, if any of you are troubled by it. Just ask the Lord to clear your brains, and brush away such cobwebs as these, for we shall never have genuine Christianity in the world while such nonsense remains. Nonsense about giving up the world, meaning thereby living in laziness! The truest Christian is the working man, who so labors for God that he does not neglect the common duties of life.”

9. “True Christians delight in sacred activity.”

“True Christians delight in sacred activity; in that respect, they are liked the angels of God, ‘that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word,’ and like the glorified saints above, who, ‘serve him day and night in his temple.’ A life of Christian activity down here is a fitting prelude to a life of heavenly activity up there. The best Christians are those who serve God the most.”

 


Edward G. Romine is a Residency Ph.D. student in historical theology studying Spurgeon at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He received his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been a preacher of the gospel since 2007. He currently serves as a Research Assistant at The Spurgeon Library.