They tell the prophets,
“Don’t tell us what is right.
Tell us nice things.
Tell us lies.
2700 years ago the people wanted religion, but they wanted it to suit them, to make them happy and comfortable. This is exactly the kind of religion many in our world desire today. Religion that doesn’t actually make any claims, religion that doesn’t actually give directives for life, religion that doesn’t take a moral stance on anything. We want a religion that isn’t hard and doesn’t require sacrifice. Much to be preferred is a religion that just makes you feel good about yourself. Meditate, stretch, breathe, feel good, repeat. The principle deity of “tell us nice things religion” is self. In the end, self is a poor choice for a deity.
Hudson Taylor moved to China from England in the 1800’s, to tell the Chinese people about Jesus. He endured incredible hardship and difficulty but in the end the China Inland Mission was created and over the course of the last couple centuries thousands upon thousands of Chinese have put their hope in Jesus.
What made Hudson Taylor tick? That is what this book, which is made up largely of his own writings, is all about.
A Burden for the Lost — Hudson believed with all his heart that the world needed Jesus. Without Jesus there could only be eternal condemnation. Over and over again this point comes up in his writings.
(Do I really believe that people are lost without Jesus?)
Prayer – Understanding God as father was a real truth for Hudson Taylor, therefore, he believed, he need only ask God for things and not men. Hudson put himself in incredibly challenging situation’s because of this perspective. Whether he was down to the last rice kernel in his cupboard or the last penny in his bank account, he simply left these concerns with God and waited patiently. He is quoted as saying “It’s God himself, not God plus a bank balance, in this truth I was freed from care and anxiety”
(Do I really trust God as my father?)
In Christ – Taylor had a major crisis of faith. His daughter died, then his wife, then a war started between England and China in the whole mess the Chinese accused him of stealing babies, and the English accused him of forcing the Chinese to convert at gunpoint. With money running out, grief running high, and danger ever present, Taylor began to crumble. However it was in this crucible that Taylor realized a most powerful truth: Christ was already in him, and he in Christ, the promise was sure, Christ would never leave. He had long been trying harder, working later, worrying more — all efforts to become more like Christ were his efforts when all along Christ was already in him. upon this realization tremendous victory came, and serenity like never before was the result through out the rest of his life. It was said of Taylor: “The serenity of the Lord Jesus concerning any matter was his most ideal and practical possession.”
(Am I still trying to impress Jesus by all my efforts)
God’s kingdom is first and we work together. Denominations were distinct in those days, and less even then today did they work together. However, Taylor was more then willing to set aside denominational differences to spread the gospel. He also was never mislead, like so many other missionaries of that era, into thinking that white english culture must be transported into the Chinese world at par with the gospel. There was no “to be a Christian is to be an english gentleman” thinking in his mind. He completely adopted Chinese culture, hair, and dress, and when addressing the value of indigenous ministry he said.
“The hope for China lies in them. I look on foreign missionaries as the scaffolding round a rising building; the sooner it can be dispensed with the better”
(Am I still full of unhealthy bias and foolish pride in my culture, my traditions, and my way )
Wrestling with priorities. The incredible cost of overseas missions in those days upon families remains a struggle for me to accept. When addressing the tragedy of having to leave behind seven children in England for yet another foray into inland China, Taylor’s second wife said the following:
“I feel so ashamed that the dear children should affect me more than millions here who are perishing — while we are sure of eternity together”
As I see it, these children were gifted by God to the Taylor’s and they should not have been abandoned for any reason. Granted they were cared for, looked after, and educated but nothing can replace the godly influence of mom and dad. Parenting and spreading the gospel in foreign lands are equally high callings because both are all about discipleship. One should never come at the expense of the other. Using the surety of eternity together as a justification for abandonment, is by any measurement, poor. It is also a flimsy assumption given that so many children have shipwrecked their spiritual lives as a direct result of parental vacancy.
(Am I functionally abandoning my children by the distractions of technology and business, am I absent though present?)
The Gospel means cross bearing. Taylor was a quiet man, but his quietness was not evidence a passivity. He truly rested in Christ, but his rest did not indicate laziness:
There is a needs be for us to give ourselves for the life of the world. An easy, non-self-denying life will never be one of power. Fruit-bearing involves cross-bearing. There are not two Christ’s — and easy-going one for easy-going Christians, and a suffering toiling one for exceptional believers. There is only one Christ. Are you willing to abide in Him and thus bear much fruit.