Hudson Taylor’s spiritual secret, they say, was to draw “for every need upon ‘the fathomless wealth of Christ’” (Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Littleton, CO: OMF International, 2010, page 8). He was a very fruitful man, indeed, the fruit of his life extends to our day. However, the secret of his fruitfulness is not found in him but in Christ and therefore Christ alone deserves the glory.
Having said that, we can still learn from Hudson’s example for he was utterly committed to spending time with Christ so that he could draw upon his fathomless wealth. Jesus possesses everything we need for life and godliness and he’s perfectly willing to share it with those who are in him (2 Peter 1:3), but he requires that we ask, seek, and knock. He requires that we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
And the reality is that it takes time to do these things and Hudson was willing to invest that time. For example, while still a teenager, he found himself with nothing to do on a given day. Instead of frittering the time away with useless things he decided to spend it with Christ, a decision that shaped the rest of his life. Here’s how he expressed what happened:
“Well do I remember how in the gladness of my heart I poured out my soul before God [that day]. Again and again, confessing my grateful love to him who had done everything or me, who had saved me when I had given up all hope and even desire for salvation, I besought him to give me some work to do for him as an outlet for love and gratitude…
“Well do I remember as I put myself, my life, my friends, my all upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted. The presence of God became unutterably real and blessed, and I remember…stretching myself on the ground and lying there before him with unspeakable awe and unspeakable joy. For what service I was accepted I knew not, but a deep consciousness that I was not my own took possession of me which has never since been effaced” (11-12).
The repeated lesson of Hudson Taylor’s life has less to do with the particulars of life and ministry, and more to do with his spiritual secret. We will not be him. Only a handful of Christians will ever receive a call so great as his. But that’s not important. What’s important is that every believer learns to put Christ first, that we make time to be with him, that we draw for every need upon his fathomless wealth. If we will learn this lesson, we will bear all the fruit Christ has appointed us to bear for the glory of his name and the good of others.
Longing with you to bear the fruit of Christ,