"It is a good thing to be without a trouble; but it is a better thing to have a trouble, and know how to get grace enough to bear it.”
~Charles Haddon Spurgeon, widely esteemed English theologian (1835 - 1892)
Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering over 10,000 in Exeter Hall and Surry Music Hall before moving to the permanent site at Metropolitan Tabernacle.
10,000 gathered to hear the Word of God preached? With no microphones, no jumbo-trons?
Just a man and his message.
Would we do that today? Are we that hungry for hearing about salvation, for understanding more about the Spirit God sends to us? That many and more gather for a sporting event, but for a church service? I don't think so.
Let us hunger and thirst for food that satisfies--for the grace God gives to bear one another's burdens and to bear our own with courage.
So it is all for your sakes, that as grace extends to more and more people, it may extend thanksgiving to the glory of God (2 Cor 4:15).
From John Wesley's Notes on 2 Corinthians 4:15:
4:15 For all things, whether adverse or prosperous, are for your sakes - for the profit of all that believe, as well as all that preach. That the overflowing grace - which continues you alive both in soul and body, might abound yet more through the thanksgiving of many - For thanksgiving invites more abundant grace.
Wesley lived one hundred years earlier (1703 - 1791) also in England preaching in open-air venues in both his home country and as a missionary to our part of the world. Each of these proclaimed that the way of wisdom is to receive all that we have with thanksgiving, as gratitude invites grace enough to bear all things.
In 2011, Ann Voskamp announces a similar message in One Thousand Gifts a new venue through today's power of instant communications and the printed word.
Believers keep telling the story generation after generation: they keep giving thanks for God's unfathomable grace.
Sculpture of St. Francis on the coastline of Sardegna, photo taken 2011.