Charles Spurgeon’s ‘The Carrot and the Horse’

There is a story attributed to Charles Spurgeon. It goes like this: a gardener presents his king with the greatest carrot he has ever grown. The king is touched and responds by giving the gardener a large plot of land. A nobleman who witnesses this event, decides it would be advantageous for him to present the king with his finest horse. He does so, and the king merely thanked him for the horse. The nobleman is confused and so the king explains to him, “That gardener was giving me the carrot. But you were giving yourself the horse” (Matt Capps, “Charles Spurgeon’s ‘The Carrot and the Horse’” [blog], March 31, 2014,; (also cited in Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith [New York: Penguin, 2011], 69-70).