“Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do.” –H. Taylor
My children, God will use you if you are willing and available despite your credentials and fame or your successes and failures. God doesn’t need you to be perfect to use you to accomplish his perfect will through you. Taking a different route , forging a new path, sometimes shutting out voices, opinions and critisims of those threatened by change, these are the marks of a man who finishes the race God has set him in. We live in culture which makes us believe that one has to be well educated, wealthy, beautiful and successful to be valuable , well its not true God uses men regardless of any of those things. That’s the world’s idea of what you need. Hudson Taylor said that “God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him.” and I agree. Hudson didn’t finish his education, he didn’t have wealth, he did things differently without the praise and approval of men and organizations, and yet God used Hudson to build a missions that still exists today 150 years later. Hudson relied on God to influence the world.
Hudson was from Liverpool England in 1853. He was 21 years old when he set out to serve God in China, a world completely foreign to him and forgotten by others. He had an ache for the lost Chinese people and was burdened to bring the gospel message to this country that had not heard about Jesus. I can’t imagine caring so deeply for an entire people group and being so concerned about their salvation at such a young age. IN fact, it’s hard for me to believe there are teenagers today with that capacity for compassion. But Hudson was. God had answered the prayers of his parents and Hudson turned from an atheist to a devote follower of Jesus Christ almost overnight when he encountered the presence of the Lord one day in prayer. He said about that time “it was unspeakable awe and unspeakable Joy”.
My children, when you were very young you each asked me how to hear God and how do you know he speaks to you? you are so clever to ask such a question. I wish I could give you a formula but there is none. The Bible says, if you seek him with all your heart you will find him. If there is a formula or a path that is it. Seek God with all your heart and he will make himself known to you. God speaks to us, but we are not always listening. The closer you walk with Christ the better you recognize and understand how and when and what he speaks. Its not an audible voice, it’s the holy spirit; Gods word in you. Hudson heard God so clear that day that he devoted the remainder of his life to the One who gave him unspeakable joy. perhaps a joy and sound that could not be heard but felt and known with the heart. I pray that for you. that you are sensitive to the holy spirit and to hear him when he speaks and to seek him when he calls.
At the time he left his home in London, there were only a few dozen missionaries stationed in China.
Hudson’s goal was to bring the gospel to China, everything else fed this one purpose. He never lost sight of his goal. Hudson did things unconventionally, unconventional thinkers are to be admired even by the world. but He was criticized by peers, especially when he dressed in Chinese clothing and grew a pony tail like the men in china, rather than English missionaries who sought to stand out. Perhaps he knew what makes a man holy is not the outward appearances but the inner work of the heart.
God didn’t promise easy and safe, he promised courage and armor, help and hope, eternal life and crowns of glory. i believe that God gives permission to be pioneers, and to challenge Christian norms and ideals when they stray from God’s. religious institutions likes to make programs and maintain routine and familiarity things that foster safety and reflect what is good . But God doesn’t desire that we are safe and good at least not the way we define it. God desires that we follow him. Christ was beaten and crucified and yet that was good. The most important one that you follow is Jesus Christ, the author of life, not other people’s approvals. Jesus is the plumbline his word is true and solid and it doesn’t change, he is the same today and forever, but people do change, we change our minds, our values, our ways, our interpretations of what is right. We are like water, with trends which ebb and flow, feelings that come and go, fads rule the day and if we follow men we will never stand on solid ground. But Jesus Christ is the solid rock on which we are invited to cling to.
Hudson didn’t like the English businessmen that the missionaries seemed to spend time with in China rather than helping the Chinese understand the love of God. Hudson cared about taking the message of Jesus Christ to the Chinese People who had not heard. That was his vision and he did not depart from it his whole life. He dared take on inland china when most missionaries stayed on the borders. Taylor eventually became an independent missionary when The Chinese Evangelization Society couldn’t pay him, Hudson trusted God to provide. And clearly was not concerned about making money, but making disciples. He said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” Hudson was fulfilling the great commission to take God’s word to the nations with or without the help of other men, he only needed the help of God.
Hudson suffered with illness, with depression, great losses and even doubt. Christians are not immune to these things. He returned to England to recover from illness, and “for two or three months there was intense conflict…I thought I should lose my mind.” Christian’s suffer, Christians doubt, they struggle with everything that besets the fallen world. Suffering is human. You are not greater than your master, but neither lower than the ranks of other men, all suffer, all fall short, all doubt, it’s what you do with those things that proves your worth. If you believe the Christian life is the life of ease and comfort you have most certainly been deceived and I would that you read Pilgrims Progress written by John Bunyon, that will surely give you a new perspective on the journey of faith. but even so when we experience the joy of the Lord as Hudson did no amount of suffering can drag us away from our King and his orders. When you struggle and suffer run to the Lord let it drive you hard into his word and move forward on your knees in prayer.
Hudson Taylor called his missions, China Inland Missions, CIM. He translated the bible into the Chinese language, He learned how to be a midwife, and recruited many missionaries , he was always asking God for more missionaries and God was always giving more missionaries. Hudson prayed hard and worked hard. He dared to ask God for the impossible
Hudson’s CIM was unique in that it relied on God alone to supply needs for the missionaries. No paycheck, no support, no financial assistance, very little advocates for his cause and methods. He said, “we must move forward on our knees.” When we look to God our provisions are not going to look to the culture we live in, but the God we believe in.
Hudson had a mental and physical breakdown in 1900 and died in 1904. But the work he began and the example he set for us was true and eternal rewards have been reaped. He didn’t care as much about his life here on earth as the one so many thousands of people wouldn’t have in heaven had he not brought Christ to china. “even life itself must be secondary to putting Jesus Christ in everything and every time.” and Hudson is neither the first nor the last man to feel so strongly about Christ.
“For there never came any thought into my heart before now that has so shown me the beauty of Jesus Christ. It made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honor and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus; yes, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” Pilgrims Progress, John Bunyon,
Today thousands of missionary’s work and minister and preach the gospel in china. And there are now thought to be tens of millions of Christians living in China.
While I was sketching Hudson’s picture, I was amazed at how Chinese he looked at the end of his life. Called to live among the people whom he loved he became one of them. So much like Christ, who loved us so dearly that he came to dwell among us, taking on our flesh, looking like us so that we would one day look like him. We become like the people we spend time with. we too take on the appearance and likeness of God when we spend time with him. Immerse ourselves in his word and stain our ears and heart with his voice.
Hudson Taylor in a letter to his family, wrote, “At home, you can never know what it is to be alone – absolutely alone – amidst thousands, as you can in a Chinese city, without one friend, one companion, and with everyone looking on you with curiosity, with contempt, with suspicion or with dislike. Thus, to learn what it is to be despised and rejected by men – of those you wish to benefit, your motives not understood.” How much more could he be like Christ than that. God used Hudson Taylor, he brought him fame in isolation and success in the remote hidden world of a foreign country where he was totally unknown and unrecognized, when he was willing to be nothing God made him everything he needed to be.
What so impressed me about Hudson Taylor is his resolve to go against the flow of the world he lived in and the men who ran it, to do what he believed God was calling him to. he didn’t care to impress the world he lived in, but sought to please the one who held the world he sought after.
As Christians in a Christian world I think we lose sight of living out the gospel truth, I think we get caught up in the world’s version of Christianity and the worlds definition of what it means to be a Christian, even the traditions of Christianity that men have invented. To Hudson Taylor being a Christian was simple, but not easy, it meant bringing Christ and his gospel message to the world and Hudson Taylor finished the race that was set before him as a man and as a follower of Christ, it wasn’t glamourous and not many people outside of the missionary world have heard of him, but his ministry was powerful and the effects eternal, and I guarantee he is famous in heaven.