Cheer Up, My Dear Comrades! is a sermon that Charles Spurgeon preached in 1880 at London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle. The purpose of the sermon was to encourage those who were either involved in the Lord’s work, or should be involved in the Lord’s work (which is every Christian); but were facing discouragement, doubt, adversity, lack of appreciation, and lack of success. While Spurgeon’s emphasis was Christian service, in the larger context this sermon would apply to whatever our work is; whether in Christian service or the business world. If God is sovereign then all things are under His domain, and serving God in secular employment is as serving God in Christian ministry.
At the center of Spurgeon’s message is the unveiling of our heart attitude. Our motivation. Do you desire to serve God where He has placed you? It does not matter whether you are a pastor, elder, or deacon. It does not matter whether you are a student, businessman, or farmer. Are you desirous of serving God? I am not asking whether you think it is a good idea to serve God or whether it is the right thing to do. I am asking whether you truly desire to serve Him. If that is your motivation (that you truly desire to serve Him), then God can, and will, use you. You can serve Him to the limits of your ability, and even beyond, by the equipping power of the Holy Spirit.
In his sermon Spurgeon writes:
And, first, I would speak a little to THOSE WHO THINK THAT THEY CAN DO NOTHING. They will tell me that in such a sermon not a sentence can concern them: if I am to encourage men to the service of the house of the Lord, it will be in vain for them, as they can do nothing at all. Well, dear friends, you must not take that for granted; you must make quite sure that you cannot do anything before I may venture to speak to you as if it were a matter of fact; for sometimes there is a want of way because there is a want of will. Though I do not go so far as to allege that this is your case, we know too well that “cannot” often does mean “will not,” and not to have triumphed may mean that you have not tried. You have been so discouraged that you have excused yourself for inaction, and your inaction has grown into indolence.
Some people think they are useless when it comes to serving God. This feeling of uselessness can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think you are useless long enough and useless you will become. But there is no need to feel or be useless in the Lord’s service. Spurgeon goes on to recount a story about King David in 1 Samuel 30:24-25:
Now, I want to encourage you first by reminding you that the law of the Son of David is the same as the law of David himself; and you know the law of David about those that went to the battle. There were some that were lame, and some that were otherwise incapable of action, and he left them with the baggage. “There,” he said, “you are very weary and ill: stop in the camp: take care of the tents, and the ammunition, while we go and fight.” Now, it happened once on a time that the men that went to fight claimed all the spoil. They said, “These people have done nothing: they have been lying in the trenches: they shall not carry off a share of the booty.” But King David there and then made a law that they should share and share equally—those that were in the trenches and those that engaged in the fray. “As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel.” Nor is the law of the Son of David less gracious. If by sickness you are detained at home,—if for any other reason, such as age or infirmity, you are not able to enter into actual service, yet if you are a true soldier and would fight if you could, and your heart is in it, you shall share even with the best and bravest of those who, clad in the panoply of God, encounter and grapple with the adversary.
Even if God, according to His providence, prevents you from the level of service you would like to perform, serve Him to degree that you are able. An act of compassion, a kind word, a display of hospitality, intercessory prayer; these things may lack notoriety or seem inconsequential, but they are equally as vital as preaching the Word or going on the mission field. The littlest act, performed in faith, is a mighty deed in God’s eyes.
Matthew 25:34-40 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me somethingto eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”