The Sufficiency of Christ as Seen in Hudson Taylor

June 15, 2010

Christian Life

[For this post let’s take a very brief glimpse into the life of J. Hudson Taylor.  These two references, taken from the book “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret,” one biographical and one testimonial, I think really share the truest sense of submitting, relying and clinging to Christ. – DB]

James Hudson Taylor (1832 – 1905), born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, is often referred to as “the father of modern missions.”  Professor Warneck said of Hudson Taylor that “he was a physician…full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, of entire surrender to God and His call, of great self-denial, heartfelt compassion, rare power in prayer, marvelous organizing faculty, energetic initiative, indefatigable perseverance, and of astonishing influence with men, and withal of childlike humility.”  Indeed, Hudson Taylor was a man in whom we, as Christians, can find much to emulate.[1]

(page 165)  It was an experience that stood the test, as months and years went by.  Never again did the unsatisfied days come back; never again was the needy soul separated from the fullness of Christ.  Trials came, deeper and more searching then ever before, but in them all joy flowed unhindered from the presence of the Lord Himself.  For Hudson Taylor had found the secret of soul-rest.  In this experience there had come to him not only a fuller apprehension of the Lord Jesus Himself and all He is for us, but a fuller surrender-yes, indeed, a self abandonment to Him.

“I am no longer anxious about anything [he had written, as we have seen]…for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine.  It makes no matter where He places me, or how.  That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient.  It little matters to my servant whether I send him to buy a few cash worth of things or the most expensive articles.  In either case he looks to me for the money and brings me his purchases.  So, if God should place me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstance of great pressure and trial, much strength?  No fear that His resources will be unequal to the emergency!  And His resources are mine – for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.

Surrender to Christ he had long known, but this was more; this was a new yieldedness, a glad, unreserved handing over of self and everything to Him.  It was no longer a question of giving up this or that if the Lord required it; it was a loyal and loving acceptance, a joyful meeting of His will in things little and great, as the very best that could be for His own.  This made the trials of the following summer an opportunity for God’ grace to triumph, turning  “the valley of weeping” into “a place of springs” from which streams of blessing are flowing still…[2]

[Two things are important to note.  First, I took this out of context from the middle of the book.  If you are wondering what Taylor went through prior to his maturing in faith, well, that was intentional.  I wanted to emphasize that God’s grace is sufficient for everyone.  We don’t have to emulate, or try with human effort, to mirror another’s walk.  That may seem like an obvious statement, but I think all too often we fall into the “how-to” trap of trying to make ourselves an ideal Christian.  The glowing faith displayed here is after a life of trials and difficulties; a life of learning about the grace and provision of God. If you want to see the pitfalls and failings, the growth and increasing reliance on Christ that Hudson Taylor went through, read this book.  I highly endorse it.  But know this, his reliance of Christ didn’t materialize out of a vacuum; and neither will ours.

Second, the biographical sketch at the beginning is quite impressive, isn’t it?  You may think that such faith is possible for a man of these unique qualities; for me, I can’t quite expect so much.  God gives a measure of grace to everyone, and He requires different things from us all, that is for sure.  The thing we need to realize, though, is that great or small, of worldly significance or nil, we are all given everything we are by our great, high and Holy God.  And everything is given to us with purpose and equal in significance.  Knock and He shall open, seek and you will find; avail yourself of prayer and study, yielding yourself in truth, and He will direct your steps. – DB]

[1] “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret,” by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Press, Chicago; pages vi-vii

[2] “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret,” by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Press, Chicago; pages 165-166

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