The two laborers!
From Spurgeon's sermon, "LET US PRAY"
Two laborers in God's harvest met each other
once upon a
time, and they sat down to compare notes. One was a man of
sorrowful spirit, and the other joyous, for God had given
him the desire of his heart.
The sad brother said, "Friend, I cannot understand how it is that
everything you do is sure to prosper: You scatter seed with both
your hands very diligently, and it springs up, and so rapidly too,
that the reaper treads upon the heels of the sower, and the
sower himself again upon the heels of the next reaper. I have
sown," said he, "as you have done, and I think I can say I have
been just as diligent; I think too the soil has been the same,
for we have labored side by side in the same town. The seed has
been of the same quality, for I have found mine where you get
yours -- the common granary. But alas, my seed never springs
up. I sow it. It is as if I sowed upon the waves, I never see
a harvest. Here and there a sickly blade of wheat I have
discovered with great and diligent search, but I can see
but little reward for all my labors."
They talked a long time together, for the brother who was
successful was one of a tender heart, and therefore he sought to
comfort this mourning brother. They compared notes, they
looked through all the rules of farming, and they could not
solve the mystery of why one was successful and the other
labored in vain.
At last the successful laborer said to the other, "I must retire."
"Why?" said the other.
"Because this is the time when I must go and steep my seed."
"Steep your seed?" said the other.
"Yes, my brother, I always steep my seed before I sow it.
I steep it till it begins to swell, and germinate, and I can
almost see a green blade springing from it, and then you
know it speedily grows after it is sown."
"Ah," said the other, "but I don't understand what you mean.
How do you steep your seed, and in what mysterious mixture?"
"Brother," said he, "it is a composition made of one part of the
tears of agony for the souls of men, and the other part of the
tears of a holy agony which wrestles with God in prayer-- this
mixture, if you drop your seed in it, has a transcendent efficacy
to make every grain full of life, so that it is not lost."
The other rose and went on his way, and did not forgot what he
had learned, but he began to steep his seed too-- he spent less
time in his study, more time in his closet; he was less abroad,
more at home; less with man, and more with God. And he went
abroad and scattered his seed, and he too, saw a harvest,
and the Lord was glorified in them both.
Brethren, the reason of the non-success in
our ministry lies in our lack of prayer.
If I were addressing students in the college, I think I should
venture to say to them-- set prayer first in your labors; let your
subject be well prepared; think well of your discourse, but best
of all, pray it over, study on your knees!
Let me beseech you, in whatever you do, not to go about
your Christian work until you have first entreated God
that the dew of heaven may drop on the seed you sow.
Steep your seed and it shall spring up.
We are demanding in our days more Christian laborers--
it is a right prayer. We are seeking that the seed should
be of the best sort-- it is a right demand.
But let us not forget another which is even more necessary than
this-- let us ask, let us plead with God, that the seed be steeped,
that men may preach agonizing for souls.
Prayer is never lost; preaching may be, but prayer never is.
Praying breath can never be spent in vain.