(Taken from An All Round Ministry by Charles Spurgeon)
A woman was once very busy in fetching out of her burning house her pictures and her choicest pieces of furniture. She had worked a long while, toiling hard to save her little treasures; when, on a sudden, it came to her mind that one of her children was missing. The child had been left in the burning house; and when the mother rushed back again, that chamber had long ago been consumed, and the child had, doubtless, perished. Then did she wring her hands, and bitterly bewail her folly. She seemed to curse every bit of furniture that she had saved, and wished that she had not saved it, because, by looking after such poor stuff, she had lost her child. Even so, every little piece of curious learning, and quaint proverb, and deep doctrine, that you manage to save from the fire, will only accuse your conscience if you let men's souls perish. We must have them saved; and it is infinitely better that fifty of those admirable discourses upon a difficult point should lie by till we are dead than that we should bring them out, and waste fifty Sundays when precious souls are waiting for the good news of mercy.
I have often wondered why certain sermons were ever preached, what design the preacher had in concocting them. I would not suspect the preachers of wishing to display themselves; yet what else they were doing, I do not know. Caligula marched his legions, with the beating of drums, and sounding of trumpets, and display of eagles and banners, down to the sea-shore, to gather cockles! And there are sermons of that sort: beating drums, and sounding trumpets, and flaunting flags, and cockles! A beautiful story is told of the famous Bernard. He preached one day to a congregation with marvellous eloquence and poetic diction; he charmed them all; but when the sermon was done, Bernard was observed to walk away disquieted. He wandered into the wilderness, and spent the night alone, fasting because of his sadness. The next day, at the time for preaching, he was ready, and delivered himself of a commonplace discourse, of which the great gentlemen who had listened to him the day before thought nothing; but the poor of the people understood his words, and drank them in; and though he heard the censures of the critics, he was observed to walk away with a smile upon his face, and to eat his bread with a merry heart. When one asked him the reason, he said, "Heri Bernardum; hodie Jesum Christum." "Yesterday, I preached Bernard; but to-day, Jesus Christ." You, my brethren, will feel happy when you have preached unto them Jesus; and, whoever frowns, your sleep will be sweet to you, for your Master will have accepted you.
Keep to the gospel, then, more and more and more. Give the people Christ, and nothing but Christ. Satiate them, even though some of them should say that you also nauseate them with the gospel. At every meal, set out the salt without prescribing how much.