With apparently too much time on my hands, I recently considered how two of my favorite things might be related…Coffee and Spurgeon. One stimulates my mind and the other my soul (I leave you to decide which is which).
Browsing through some of the Prince of Preachers writings, I soon found that the pastor seemed to enjoy using coffee in illustrations as well as coffee houses in practical uses. One of the institutions/ministries related to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, in fact, was simply called the Coffee-house Mission.
Spurgeon apparently inherited the significance of meeting over a cup of coffee from one of his pastoral predecessors, John Gill. It is written of him that, “It was his practice, once a week, to meet his ministering brethren at the accustomed coffee-house, where a sort of ministers’ club assembled.” Even in the mid-1700s pastors knew that the local coffee house was a holy place.
Spurgeon continued that legacy, again, often referring to coffee houses and the importance of coffee. Numerous times he mentions two men from his church who met a man on the street contemplating suicide, and their first action was to take him for a cup of coffee! (I don’t mean to make too light of that; in truth Spurgeon does mention the coffee, but it seems giving him a good meal was part of the plan as well).
Here are a couple of other mentions of the divine drink where Spurgeon shows the value of a good cup of joe by using it illustratively.
“My servant might, perhaps, think it a very proper thing for her to arrange my papers for me in my study, but I should feel but a very slender amount of gratitude to her. If, however, she will have a cup of coffee ready for me early in the morning, when I have to go out to a distant country town to preach, I shall be much more likely to appreciate her services.” Nothing like starting the day with that first cup!
Or here, where he compares not getting his coffee to playing loose with Scripture: “Suppose that I was starting on a journey, early in the morning, and I said to my servant, ‘I should like a cup of coffee before I start,’ and suppose that, when I came down, she brought me a glass of cold water, I should. ask her, ‘Why did you do that’!’ If she should reply, ‘Oh, sir, I thought that the water would be better for you than coffee!’ I should say, ‘Well, I am very much obliged to you for thinking of me in that considerate way; but I shall have to engage another servant who does what she is told.’ So I advise you not to alter or judge God’s Word, but to obey it.”
The message is clear: Don’t mess with my coffee! In fact, so valuable is this elixir of life, that in his collection of wisdom called Salt Cellars, Spurgeon simply includes this brief line: “Advice to a thirsty soul. Try coffee.”
Try coffee, indeed! I realize that this is the second post about coffee in the last couple months (see here for the other one). Some my say I’m starting to obsess about the subject. Actually, I was just trying to find a way to send a message to my family. With the impending celebration of my birth only a month away, one might just consider something like this to be an interesting choice of gift.
I’m just sayin’….
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to grab my cup of coffee and go read a little Spurgeon. Seems like the right thing to do. Have a nice day!