The Discouragement of Preaching

There aren’t a few people who can walk away from a sermon feeling greatly discouraged. It is, perhaps, a complaint that many ministers have heard in the course of their ministries. Now we certainly don’t advocate discouragement for discouragement’s sake. But there is a merciful discouragement. I think we’d all do well to think about the veracity of the following:

But you say my sermon is discouraging–had you not better ask, “Is it true?” A person has been building a house and we see him piling up stone, but he has never dug out a foundation! It is certainly discouraging him to tell him that it is not the right way to build a house, but it will be a great mercy for him to be discouraged in a work which is so foolish. It will be a great saving to him, in the long run, if all that he has already built should come down at once and he should even now begin at the beginning once more and lay a good foundation and make sure work of it. It would be foolish to cry out, “Do not discourage him!” He ought to be discouraged. Yes, indeed, we would discourage all that will end disappointment. The fact is, your efforts, your doings and your merits, all of them, at their very best, must be a failure and it is a good thing for us to tell you so. (Charles Spurgeon)

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