Monday, February 26, 2007

Your Weekly Dose of Susannah Spurgeon

For this week's dose of Susannah Spurgeon we consider the beginnings of home life for Susannah following her marriage to Charles. While reading Charles Ray's biography, one thing struck me in particular: the use of their home in service to God and others.

Charles and Susannah's first home was in New Kent Road, London: a "modest" house, where the "best room became the library." Mrs Spurgeon explains:
'We never encumbered ourselves with...a drawing room, perhaps for the good reason that we had no need of so useless a place - but more especially I think, because the best room was always felt to belong by right to the one who "laboured much in the Lord." Never have I regretted this early decision; it is a wise arrangement for a minister's house, if not for any other.'
In thinking about this, I found myself asking this question: Do I organise and utilise my house in such a way that my devotion to God and service to others is enhanced? How willing are we (even with limited space) to sacrifice our comfort for the service of others? Ultimately, Spurgeon's library was to benefit others in the preaching of God's Word. But are our homes designed to benefit others, or are they nests for our own comfort? Even more, are they designed to enhance our devotion to God?

For example, John Piper in his book, When I Don't Desire God finds it incredulous that more Christians do not partition off some space in their house for personal prayer and devotions. Piper writes:
There needs to be a measure of privacy so that you are not distracted and are able to read and sing and cry. If complete seclusion is not possible, create the best situation you can, explaining to spouse or children or roommates that when you are in that chair at that hour you would like to be undisturbed. I would suggest that you think creatively about the place of prayer.

I have often wondered why Christians build houses with a room designated for play (called a den) and for food (called a kitchen) and for sleep (called a bedroom) and for cleaning (called a bathroom) and for clothes (called a closet), but do not build a room for the solitude of prayer and meditation. But if we gave thought to this, could we not find or create such a space? The reason we don’t do it is mainly that nobody thinks of it. But now I have caused you to think of it. Where could you create such a space? Is there a space under the stairs that could have a kneeling mat
and a prayer bench and a light?

In 1975, when we bought our first home, I built a prayer bench with a place for my elbows in a kneeling posture, and a place for my Bible to lie, and a shelf underneath for the Bible or other books and a notepad. It has been with me ever since in three different houses. For the last twenty-one years we have lived in the same house, and there has a been a nook in my study, created by positioning filing cabinets to block it off from the rest of the space. There the prayer bench welcomes me every morning and several times during the day. God alone knows the tears and songs that have mingled there. I urge you to think creatively. Seriously consider building a place of prayer, even if it is just the rearrangement of furniture or the cleaning out of an unused storage space.

1 comment:

CFB from NC said...

Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed the "weekly dose of Susannah Spurgeon." I read a "weekly dose of Charles Spurgeon" on a friend's blog and having both are wonderful. I'm now reading Mr. Day's biography of Mrs. Spurgeon. What a woman! Thanks for all your posts - I will keep reading!