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Hudson Taylor

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
November 17, 2021 12:00 am

Hudson Taylor

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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November 17, 2021 12:00 am

Have you ever witnessed a riot in the parking lot of your church or been threatened by an angry mob of civilians? For us, that would be extreme persecution. For Hudson Taylor, that was just another day at the office!

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Hudson Taylor was a remarkable man, but like all people who accomplished great things for God, he knew that it wasn't about him. The moderator of the service told the large congregation of all that Taylor had accomplished in China and then presented him as, and now welcome, our illustrious guest. Taylor came to the pulpit and then said, Dear friends, I am merely the servant of an illustrious master. Hudson Taylor had a perspective on his life that we should share.

His ministry was never based on how great he was. It was rooted in how great God is. As he determined to follow God faithfully, God gave him opportunities for ministry, but it was difficult. Imagine witnessing a riot every time you went to church.

Imagine being threatened by angry mobs on a weekly basis. Things that we would consider extreme persecution were commonplace for Hudson Taylor. This is wisdom for the heart. And as Stephen continues through his series called Legacies of Light, we come today to the life and ministry of this great missionary. You're about to be challenged and encouraged by his story. Hudson Taylor was born into a committed home with Christian parents. And even though he was taught the Bible and was knowledgeable of basic doctrine, he was personally skeptical. By the time he turned 17, he was unaware that his 13-year-old sister had written in her diary that she would begin praying for her older brother three times a day.

He was also unaware that one particular afternoon his mother had pulled away from friends to privately pray for his conversion. That same afternoon, Hudson Taylor later would write, At the end, I'll read the story and ignore the sermon. While reading the pamphlet, he writes, I was struck with the phrase, the finished work of Christ. And he asked himself, why does this author use the expression, the finished work of Christ? Why not the atoning work of Christ or the satisfying work of Christ? The words that Christ uttered from the cross came back to his mind when he said, It is what? Finished.

John 1930. But what was finished? He asked himself. It became clear, he would write, as I read further that the debt was paid for my sin, a full and finished payment. And then the thought came to my mind, if the work was finished by Christ and the whole debt paid, what is there left for me to do? He said, It dawned on me with joyful conviction as light flashed into my soul that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on my knees and accept this Savior and his finished work on my behalf and then praise him for the rest of my life.

That's exactly what Hudson Taylor will do. And that verse is a verse he would go back to often as he contemplated with joy the finished work of Christ. Now the year that occurred was 1849. In one more year, he would begin his medical studies. His plan was to go to the mission field and use his medical training to open doors there in China.

So in order though to fully prepare for the hardships of missionary pioneering life, he moved into the slum districts of London called Drainside. He found that over time he could live off porridge and a little bread most of the week with meat occasionally. And then he used all his remaining money to buy medical supplies as he would personally assist those poverty stricken people in his neighborhood. He would write to his sister that he had one big problem though. The medical doctor he was training under and he worked for often forgot to pay him his weekly salary. Hudson had to remind him every week and it became so frustrating to Hudson that he eventually decided that this must be a test from God. And so he decided never to ask the doctor again to pay him but entrusted the memory of the doctor to God. He felt that that would be a good way to develop his faith by trusting the Lord to remind his boss to pay him. So having made that pact with the Lord, he stopped reminding the doctor and the doctor stopped paying.

God didn't seem to be reminding the doctor. Eventually the rent was due and Hudson had no money to pay. His food was running out as well. Hudson Taylor writes to his sister, he says, One Friday near closing time at the clinic the doctor again not having a clue that he owed another week's salary suddenly turned to me and said, By the way Taylor, is not your salary due? Hudson wrote, I had to swallow two or three times before I could answer and I told him quietly that it was overdue for some time.

And how thankful I felt at this moment that God had heard my prayer. He said, Well, you know how busy I am and I've just sent all the cash to the bank otherwise I would have paid you at once. So he went home without being paid.

It was Saturday. He came back to work then on that day and he was defeated and discouraged. And when he was locking up the clinic to go home that night this doctor suddenly appeared rather amused. Taylor would write that one of his clients had just come by his office and done something he'd never done before paid his medical bill in cash.

The doctor couldn't understand what would possess this wealthy client to come by his office at 10 o'clock at night and pay a bill he could have paid any time he wanted. So you can see how God is developing the faith of this young man. And you can also see that he's giving to God the opportunity as it were to develop his faith.

An incredible joy in this answered prayer. On another occasion Hudson would write that his boss was behind yet again. Hudson headed home discouraged and confused again with the Lord. The doctor had forgotten that week and Hudson only had a half crown in his pocket for the weekend. Now when I read that I've read his two volume biography and I had to go to Google and find out how much that was worth.

And I found out that a half crown would be around 10 to 12 dollars of value today. So that's how much he had in his pocket, one coin. When he arrived at his apartment he was met by one of the poverty stricken, one of the many poverty stricken men in Drainside. And he begged Hudson to come and see his wife who had only recently delivered a baby. Neither the mother nor the newborn were doing well. Hudson writes again in his journal that he reluctantly agreed. He wrote that he wasn't in the mood to help anybody that night.

He was rather frustrated with God too. When he arrived at their apartment, if you could call it that, he said that several children were huddled inside this bare one room dwelling. And Hudson Taylor described it as truly wretched.

A woman was lying on a cot in the corner, a newborn baby whimpering in her arms. Hudson knew without any medical examination that the baby wasn't getting any milk because the woman was malnourished. In fact the entire family was hungry.

And Hudson also would record that he immediately knew that the Lord wanted him to give this family his half crown. But his heart refused. Again in another letter to his sister he shared the feelings he battled and I quote him, They needed food, but I did too. So I shared with them that although their circumstances were very distressing, that there was a kind and loving Heavenly Father. And yet something in me cried, you hypocrite.

Telling these unconverted people about a loving father and not prepared to trust him yourself. And he said my voice nearly choked at the thought. Still he refused, internally battling here. When the poor father knew there was nothing that could be done he asked Hudson to at least pray with them before he left their apartment. And he agreed. So they all knelt down in that little room. While they knelt, Hudson Taylor says the battle raged in my heart as I began to pray. And then he said, without any desire or joy I finished my prayer, got up, reached into my pocket and then pressed into the hand of that impoverished man my half crown. The family could hardly contain of course their relief and gratitude. Only then he wrote, did the joy of the Lord flood my soul. I wonder how often we would do something if the Lord gave us the joy first. Give me that joyful feeling Lord and then I'll give all my money away.

I don't feel it okay, never mind. Well he says, he goes on in his detailed letters and fortunately he wrote detailed letters. He returned home, he ate his last bowl of porridge, finished off the rest of his bread. And before he got into bed got on his knees and thanked the Lord that he had been empowered to give everything he had away. And then he reminded the Lord that he was out of money too. And he was out of food. Later the following day an anonymous package without a return address or name arrived by post.

The package contained a pair of winter gloves and inside one of the gloves was four times the amount of money he had given away the night before. He would later write, how often my mind has remembered that incident and that lesson. That faithfulness to God in little things allows us to gain experience and strength for the more serious trials of life. Maybe you're there right now. Maybe you're in that test.

This is what God is doing in your life as he deepens your faith and prepares you for perhaps even greater tests. Hudson Taylor will sail for China in 1853 and he will spend 51 years serving in that country. Let me give you just a couple of anecdotes from his days there. When he first arrived and for the first several weeks he realized that he had no respect among the people and he couldn't quite figure it out. They seemed to mock him. It was only a little later that he realized that he was being disrespected not because of his gospel message but because of his Western apparel. Especially among the young people who mocked him openly.

His black overcoat had earned him the nickname the black devil. And he didn't know it until a little later when he could finally understand a little bit. So he went against all protocol.

This is what is fascinating. He went against all protocol and advice by the way from others and he decided to do something radical. He removed his Western clothing and put on the customary robe and slippers of a Chinese teacher. He even shaved the hair off his forehead to match the Chinese custom for teachers. I've done the same thing.

Now you know why. Hudson wrote his sister the rather shocking details about the scandal he created by doing that. Now again he's literally shaving all the way back to right about here.

He writes I had better tell you at once that on Thursday last I resigned my locks to the barber dyed my hair a good black color and in the morning had a proper cue what we would call a pigtail woven into the back of my own hair. Then in Chinese dress I set out immediately gaining rapport among the people. However the reaction back in England wasn't so sympathetic in fact he lost support as soon as people found out. Didn't seem to matter in fact he would eventually begin his own mission board calling it the China inland mission. And by the way he would become known for his sensitivity toward the Chinese culture and customs. His words are thought provoking as he will later instruct his missionary teammates. He said this and I quote rude people will seldom be out of hot water in China. And though earnest and clever and pious they will not accomplish much in nothing do we fail more as a mission than in lack of politeness end quote.

Something to remember in our own world as we deliver the truth right. He would suffer greatly one wife and several children would die from diseases. He would marry again only to experience the stillborn death of twin babies a boy and a girl. He and those who served with him would be persecuted and often have to escape with their lives. In fact Hudson one time made the comment that the China inland mission never established a missionary outpost without first surviving a riot.

Imagine and they would establish by the way more than 300 outposts. Imagine frankly it's challenging a church planter in America being told that in order to be really successful you'll have to survive a riot before your church takes root. Little wonder his testimony would influence so many thousands of people to consider giving their lives away to Christ. Hudson Taylor was personally encouraging to and supported by individuals like Charles Spurgeon C.I.

Scofield of the Scofield Bible deal Moody. He would often receive financial gifts in the mail just in time from his good friend George Mueller. And you're thinking wait George Mueller was waiting for money at just the right time right. He was they would give to each other. All in all however even though it was difficult and challenging Hudson Taylor was known for his optimistic spirit. He credited his his confidence in the Lord with a statement that I have written into my own notes and he says this. If we are obeying God the responsibility rests with him not us.

It's good isn't it. In a letter dated 1879 when Hudson Taylor was 47 years old and he was away from the mission for a little while. He wrote to the secretary of the China in the mission in which he rehearsed several action points that he wanted to continue to offer to the team. And he believed that these things would would produce a health and effectiveness along with vitality to the ministry. First Hudson Taylor said improve the character of the work. In other words most often what a believer needs to do is not necessarily begin something new. But strengthen and improve what they are already doing. In other words he said self-evaluation and internal evaluation of any ministry organization or own personal lives is healthy though sometimes painful.

If it's worth doing it's worth evaluating improve the character of the work. Number two Hudson Taylor said we must deepen piety and devotion. Among other texts that come to mind is Paul's reference to Timothy his son in the faith where he says Timothy discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. First Timothy 4 7. In other words godly piety and devotion demand exercise. And if we want to grow in godliness we have to grow in being willing to work up as it were a spiritual sweat.

Life will not help us along in this regard will it. I remember years ago we were at the beach with our girls and they were out of the water and I told them now use our umbrella as your marker and stay in in front of us. No matter how hard they tried of course each wave just pushed them down that coast further and further and further away.

Sometimes they would need to literally get out of the water and run back up the beach to where they'd be in front of our umbrella. And I thought you know isn't that a picture of life the spiritual life. It's so easy to drift isn't it. The undertow of problems and challenges just kind of move us further and further away. You can't drift often without realizing it.

No one will ever deepen their piety and devotion without intentional effort. Sometimes you get out and you run back and start again as you constantly readjust as it were to the umbrella of God's purpose God's design. Hudson thirdly wanted his staff to consider this phrase. It is remove stones of stumbling if possible. Now he was thinking of tough assignments that needed you know to be tackled or some tough decision that needed to be made or some difficult obstacle that needed to be overcome.

But then he adds if you caught it if possible. I love that realism. Remove stones of stumbling if possible. It's so good why because some stuff can't be moved. Some obstacles are never going to get out of your way every day you get up. There it is. It's not going to move until Jesus comes. You have to deal with them. But wherever you can remove things that hinder your spiritual life and ministry life. Do it. I love his realism in fact Hudson would often remind his missionary team by saying don't forget there are three stages for missionary work and this applies by the way to life.

The three stages are impossible difficult done. Remove stones of stumbling if possible. Number four. I like this one here. Oil the wheels where they stick.

Oil the wheels where they stick. Hudson Taylor actually had in mind with this statement personal relationships. He said you've got to get out the oil can of love and grace and apply liberally to those relationships that tend to stick or any relationship when it gets stuck. And he would write that there is no substitute for loving one another.

He would confide by the way as an older man that one of his greatest challenges in missionary service was the trouble he had with the missionary family of the China inland mission. Yet he pressed his entire staff to have well oiled relationships and he would encourage them to by the way he would encourage them by saying this and I love this little phrase he had a wonderful way of turning a phrase. He said it this way things will look up with God's blessing if looked after what a great blend of personal involvement and perseverance and trust in God.

One more supplement what is lacking supplement what is lacking in other words don't just point out the problem supplement what's needed to fix it. He once wrote criticizing plans is easier than creating plans. So instead of criticizing add whatever is lacking that you might add as you engage in these plans and carry out your plans for the glory of God.

Well said improve the character of the work deepened piety and devotion remove stones of stumbling if possible oil the wheels where they stick supplement what is lacking. One of the things that you'll you'll soon find very apparent in this man's life is that he was marked by a sense of joy and humility. He almost seemed surprised that God had chosen him for his glory in fact he would write on one occasion. I often think that God must have been looking for someone small enough and weak enough for him to use and he found me on one occasion he was being introduced to speak at a large church in Australia. The moderator of the service introduced the missionary and eloquent and glowing terms just the laundry list of everything you've done and he told the large congregation of all the Taylor had accomplished in China and then presented him as and now welcome our illustrious guest.

Taylor came to the pulpit quietly for a moment and then said dear friends I am merely the servant of an illustrious master. In nineteen oh five after having resigned as the head of the China inland mission he decided to take one last tour through some of those beloved provinces some of those towns and mission stations and during that tour in China he passed away. Over fifty one years of ministry Hudson Taylor would be responsible for leading nearly one thousand missionaries into that vast country to give their lives. Together they would plant hundreds of churches they would start one hundred and twenty five different schools. There would be more than five hundred Chinese converts who would turn around and join the mission as staff members and volunteers. The China inland mission would become the largest Protestant missionary organization in the world.

Hudson Taylor would learn to speak three different Chinese dialects evangelize in all eighteen provinces of the interior and prepare translation of the New Testament in a local dialect. You go back to those early days as a seventeen year old when he was simply struck with the truth he never forgot that it was all the work of Christ. To Christ alone belonged all the glory and all the honor and all the praise.

May we do the same. No matter what ministry God calls you to your mindset should be the same all the glory honor and praise goes to God alone. Thanks for listening today Stephen Davey is the senior pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary North Carolina. He's working through a series called legacies of light in which he examines the biographies of several men and women. Stephen's book based on this series is available if you're interested in learning more. We can give you information when you call us today at 866-48-Bible.

This book would make a great gift this upcoming Christmas season. The number is 866-48-Bible or 866-482-4253. If you have a comment a question or would like more information you can send us an email if you address it to info at wisdom online dot org.

Once again that email address is info at wisdom online dot org. Our ministry is on social media and that's a great way to stay informed and interact with us. Be sure and like our Facebook page so that you'll get updates. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram and we'd enjoy interacting with you. I'm Scott Wiley and for Stephen and all of us here thanks again for joining us today and join us again next time for more wisdom for the heart. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-22 05:53:09 / 2023-07-22 06:01:56 / 9

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