In a way, we are all like caterpillars longing to emerge into our butterfly life—where the numbing rhythms of everyday life are replaced by the deep sense that who we are and what we do really matters in the world. Life can be ugly, but we long for beauty. We want to be released from the captivity of our diminished dreams and set free into a life that deeply satisfies. And what is our pathway into that kind of life? A lot of us have been seduced into traveling the false roads of financial success or physical pleasure or social popularity. But anyone who has ventured down these roads very far knows there is always a dead-end around the bend.
A little over 150 years ago, the British pastor C.H. Spurgeon was the most famous person in the world—but it’s likely you’ve never heard of him. He earned the nickname “the prince of preachers” when he was just 22 because of his inspiring sermons as the pastor of London’s famous downtown church, New Park Street Chapel. Every Sunday he’d preach twice, to congregations of 6,000 people, before the days of microphones and amplification. Today, he still has more books in print than any pastor in history, including more than 2,500 sermons.
Spurgeon’s path out of a caterpillar life was guided by a very simple conviction—he “beelined” everything in his life and ministry to Jesus. Of course, “beeline” is a funny word to us—it means that no matter what he was preaching or teaching about, Spurgeon was always headed to Jesus. He lived and urged the Jesus-centered life. Once, a young pastor asked Spurgeon to critique his preaching, and the older man was blunt: “That was a poor sermon.” When the young man asked for an explanation, Spurgeon replied: “Because there was no Christ in it.” The young man protested that his chosen Scripture verse had nothing to do with Jesus. Spurgeon responded: “Don’t you know, young man, that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London? And so from every text in Scripture there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ.”
Spurgeon’s passion for Jesus, and his determination to track everything in the Bible back to the “metropolis” of Christ, is the light we need to find our way through a life that can seem like a dark jungle. And as we draw near to the heart of Jesus, the transformation we experience will feel like we’ve been set free into a life that is bursting with fruit—everywhere we go, with everyone we meet, we leave a trail of good impact. When we, like the Apostle Paul before us, can say, “I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), then we are caught up in a caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation. The closer we get to Jesus, the more we discover our true identity and purpose in life.