Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as “the prince of preachers,” felt he delivered his sermon so poorly one Sunday that he was ashamed of himself. As he walked away from his church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, he wondered how any good could come from that message. When he arrived home, he dropped to his knees and prayed, “Lord God, You can do something with nothing. Bless that poor sermon.”
In the months that followed, 41 people said that they had decided to trust Christ as Saviour because of that “weak” message. The following Sunday, to make up for his previous “failure,” Spurgeon had prepared a “great” sermonbut no one responded.
Spurgeons experience underscores two important lessons for all who serve the Lord. First, we need the blessing of God on our efforts. Solomon said in Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” And second, our weakness is an occasion for the working of Gods power. The apostle Paul said, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christs sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
The other evening I was riding home after a heavy days work. I felt very wearied and sore depressed, when swiftly and suddenly as a lightning flash that text came to me, “my grace is sufficient for you.” I reached home and looked it up in the original, and at last it came to me in this way: MY grace is sufficient for you. And I said, I should think it is, Lord, and burst out laughing. I never fully understood what the holy laughter of Abraham was until then. It seemed to make unbelief so absurd. It was as though a mouse feared it might die of famine, and Joseph might say, Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for you. Again, I imagined a man way up yonder in a lofty mountain, saying to himself, I breathe so many cubic feet of air every year, I fear I shall exhaust the oxygen in the atmosphere. But the earth might say, Breathe away, O man, and fill your lungs ever, my atmosphere is sufficient for you! Be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls.
It matters little to my servant whether I send him to buy a few cash worth of things, or the most expensive articles. In either case he looks to me for the money and brings me his purchases. So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.
God can achieve his purpose either through the absence of human power and resources, or the abandonment of reliance on them. All through history God has chosen and used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on him made possible the unique display of his power and grace. He chose and used somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources.