I recently came across an inspiring passage in Charles H. Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Love of Jonathan, and the Love of Jesus”:
“I have told you before what I sometimes dream shall be my lot in glory, to stand not [in the pulpit] and preach to a handful of people … but to stand upon some starry orb, and preach of Christ to whole constellations at once, and thunder out my remembrances of His sweet love to myriads of beings who have never heard of Him as yet, for they have never sinned, but who will drink in all the tidings of what Jesus did for sinful men.
“And each of you, according to your training for it, shall make known to angels, and principalities, and powers, the manifold wisdom of God. There is plenty of room for you all, for God’s universe will need millions upon millions of messengers to go through it all, and tell out the story of redeeming love. And we, I believe, are here in training for that eternal work of making known to illimitable regions of space, and countless myriads of intelligent beings whom God has created, but who have never fallen, the story of this little planet, and of the God who loved it so that He came here, and died that He might save His people from their sins.”
I especially appreciate that Spurgeon says “according to your training for it.” I think this means that in eternity, each of us will do the real work God designed us to do, and it will make us not only happy, but absolutely joyful. Not only preachers, but everyone: Those who try to honor God in the stories they tell now will tell the best stories of all. Those who try to depict the beauties of creation in various artful ways now will be able to reflect all the wonders of God in ways they never thought possible. Those who make music for the glory of God now will go on to make music that is so glorious we can’t even begin to imagine what it will sound like. And so on, and on….
Spurgeon’s inspiring words also reminded me of the scene in C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet, in which the Oyarsa of Malacandra asks Ransom to tell him about what has happened on Earth during the past few millennia. Naturally I found myself wondering: Did Lewis ever read Spurgeon?
<Time out from drafting blog post to submit question, variously worded, via search engine. Hmmm. No obvious connection off the top of results list. Doesn’t mean there isn’t one to be found upon digging deeper, but nothing immediately popped up.>
While I would love to find evidence that Spurgeon’s thoughts inspired Lewis, it’s also interesting to consider that this might simply be an instance of great Christian minds thinking rather alike (albeit minds that belonged to different denominations, not to mention generations, and who no doubt would not have agreed on every detail of theology and doctrine, had they ever had the opportunity to sit down and talk).
I find it encouraging that both were inspired by their reflections on scripture (1st Peter 1:12 seems one likely candidate) to create very different but powerful word-works that have inspired many along God-glorifying cosmic questing adventurous lines. Spurgeon was a preacher, while Lewis was an academic, teacher, and writer of popular apologetics and speculative fiction, but both saw and were moved by scripture’s cosmic implications, and worked hard to pass along their thoughts to people in desperate need of God-glorifying cosmic questing adventure. I for one am grateful for their willingness to do so. Thanks be to God!