C.H. Spurgeon is often quoted as saying: “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.”
Indeed, for Albert Mohler, this expression summarises Spurgeon’s entire preaching method.
For the record, I can find no evidence that Spurgeon ever said it (see here for corroboration).
But is it the sort of thing that the great preacher might have said? Well, kind of.
Perhaps the nearest thing we can find comes in a story told (with obvious approval) by the 24-year-old Spurgeon:
A Welsh minister who was preaching last Sabbath at the chapel of my dear brother, Jonathan George, was saying, that Christ was the sum and substance of the gospel, and he broke out into this story:—
A young man had been preaching in the presence of a venerable divine, and after he had done he went to the old minister, and said, “What do you think of my sermon?” “A very poor sermon indeed,” said he. “A poor sermon?” said the young man, “it took me a long time to study it.” “Ay, no doubt of it.” “Why, did you not think my explanation of the text a very good one?” “Oh, yes,” said the old preacher, “very good indeed.” “Well, then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn’t you think the metaphors were appropriate and the arguments conclusive?” “Yes, they were very good as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon.” “Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?” “Because,” said he, “there was no Christ in it.” “Well,” said the young man, “Christ was not in the text; we are not to be preaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text.”
So the old man said, “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?” “Yes,” said the young man. “Ah!” said the old divine “and so form every text in Scripture, there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. And my dear brother, your business in when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now what is the road to Christ?’ and then preach a sermon, running along the road towards the great metropolis—Christ. And,” said he, “I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if I ever do find one that has not a road to Christ in it, I will make one; I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get at my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savour of Christ in it.”
I don’t think I’m splitting hairs when I suggest that there is a bit more nuance here than in the adage about ‘making a bee-line to Christ’. Spurgeon is not arguing that the preacher should always get to Christ as soon as possible, and should stay there for the rest of the sermon, but rather that there should be at least something of Christ in the sermon.
As for Spurgeon’s own preaching, I think it is fair to say that there is usually not only something of Christ in the sermon, but much of Christ. If you look through a selection of his sermons on various psalms, as I have done, you will find that although there is not exactly a bee-line to Christ, few opportunities are missed to celebrate the Saviour and his saving work.