CH Spurgeon, the great evangelistic pastor of the 19th Century once said, ‘Fervent lovers of souls do not wait till they are trained, they serve their Lord at once.’[i]
Hudson Taylor was no exception to this rule of Christian leadership and immediately began sharing the gospel with those around him.
He had already become convinced that China was the place where he would, at some future point, serve God. He therefore began a process of self-discipline that, frankly, ought to challenge every potential Christian leader today.
Taylor’s own testimony of his late teenage years, is rich with instruction – honouring parents, trusting God, being open to correction, personal integrity, diligent study and a willingness to serve.
The Crucial Role of Parenting in the Global Mission
His parents, also, were parenting in faith. They could have discouraged his desire to leave England. After all, it is possible to serve God in England! They could have discouraged him from a ministerial career. After all, you can serve God and take up a regular profession!
Did the mother that prayed so earnestly for her precious son trust the wisdom of God in taking him so far away? This would require faith, pure and undefiled.
Taylor writes, ‘My beloved parents neither discouraged nor encouraged my desire to engage in missionary work. They advised me to use all the means in my power to develop the resources of body, mind, heart, and soul, and to wait prayerfully upon God, quite willing, should He show me that I was mistaken, to follow His guidance, or to go forward if in due time He should open the way to missionary service.’
‘Take my feather bed away!’
He continues, ‘The importance of this advice I have often since had occasion to prove. I began to take more exercise in the open air to strengthen my physique.
My feather bed I had taken away, and sought to dispense with as many other home comforts as I could, in order to prepare myself for rougher lines of life.’
Giving out tracts, visiting the poor
‘I began also to do what Christian work was in my power, in the way of tract distribution, Sunday-school teaching, and visiting the poor and sick, as opportunity afforded.’
‘After a time of preparatory study at home, I went to Hull for medical and surgical training. There I became assistant to a doctor who was connected with the Hull school of medicine, and was surgeon also to a number of factories, which brought many accident cases to our dispensary, and gave me the opportunity of seeing and practising the minor operations of surgery.’[ii]
But Taylor’s self-imposed preparation for service was not limited to the physical and intellectual arena. He knew he must grow in faith. And he, therefore, began to exercise his faith in the area of giving and trusting God for money.
For the next post in the Hudson Taylor Story click here
For the first part in the Hudson Taylor Story click here
Picture from A Personal History of Hull
© 2011 Church History / Lex Loizides
[i] Lectures to My Students on the Art of Preaching, Marshall and Pickering, p.36
[ii] From A Retrospect, later published as ‘To China with Love’, Bethany House, p.16-17