It is not what men eat but what they digest that makes them strong; not what we gain
but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us
learned; not what we preach but what we practice that makes us Christians.
During the time of slavery, a slave was preaching with great power. His master heard of
it, and sent for him, and said: "I understand you are preaching?"
"Yes," said the slave. "Well, now," said the master, "I
will give you all the time you need, and I want you to prepare a sermon on the Ten
Commandments, and to bear down especially on stealing, because there is a great deal of
stealing on the plantation." The slave's countenance fell at once. He said he
wouldn't like to do that; there wasn't the warmth in that subject there was in others.
I have noticed that people are satisfied when you preach about the sins of the
patriarchs, but they don't like it when you touch upon the sins of today.
Moody's Anecdotes, p. 91.
An English preacher of the last generation used to say that he cared very little what
he said the first half hour, but he cared a very great deal what he said the last fifteen
minutes. I remember reading many years ago an address published to students by Henry Ward
Beecher, in which he gave a very striking account of a sermon by Jonathan Edwards. Beecher
says that in the elaborated doctrinal part of Jonathan Edwards' sermon the great preacher
was only getting his guns into position, but that in his applications he opened fire on
the enemy. There are too many of us, I am afraid, who take so much time getting our guns
into position that we have to finish without firing a shot. We say that we leave the truth
to do its own work. We trust to the hearts and consciences of our hearers to apply it.
Depend upon it, gentlemen, this is a great and fatal mistake.
Dr. Dale, quoted in Preaching, G. Campbell Morgan, p. 89.
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the
truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at the
moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing
Unused truth becomes as useless as an unused muscle.
A.W. Tozer, That Incredible
Booker's Law: An ounce of application is worth a pound of abstraction.
The Official Rules, p. 16.
While D.L. Moody was attending a convention in Indianapolis on mass evangelism, he
asked his song leader Ira Sankey to meet him at 6 o'clock one evening at a certain street
corner. When Sankey arrived, Mr. Moody asked him to stand on a box and sing. Once a crowd
had gathered, Moody spoke briefly and then invited the people to follow him to the nearby
convention hall. Soon the auditorium was filled with spiritually hungry people, and the
great evangelist preached the gospel to them. Then the convention delegates began to
arrive. Moody stopped preaching and said, "Now we must close, as the brethren of the
convention wish to come and discuss the topic, 'How to reach the masses.'" Moody
graphically illustrated the difference between talking about doing something and going out
and doing it.
A gray-haired old lady, long a member of her community and church, shook hands with the
minister after the service one Sunday morning. "That was a wonderful sermon,"
she told him, "-- just wonderful. Everything you said applies to someone I
Bits & Pieces, November, 1989, p. 19.