Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hudson Taylor and the Birth of New Ministries

Reflecting on the ministry of Hudson Taylor, H Grattan Guinness wrote this: “In the quiet of his heart, in deep unutterable communings with God, the mission [of China Inland Mission] had its origin and remains its memorial” (Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Littleton, CO: OMF Books, 2010, page v).

This comment really struck me because it’s indicative of the truth that Christ-exalting ministries are conceived and born of God as he plants his vision in the hearts of men and women who humbly seek him by the Word and prayer, by the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit, by the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ, and by the counsel of the Christian community. It seems to me that in the life of the church we need less strategic planning, and more humble, fervent, persistent prayer. We American Christians are so impatient. We want to get to the product. We want to roll it out to market. We want to see the results we expect to see in the time we expect to see them. And it seems that the deadline for our dreams is always yesterday.

But what we need is fervent prayer and a submissive spirit. We need faith and patience because God’s visions are better than ours, and God’s timeline is almost never the same as ours.

Husdon Taylor’s spiritual secret was “the simple, profound secret of drawing for every need upon ‘the fathomless wealth of Christ’” (page 8). Indeed, he is not responsible for the conception, spread, breadth, and longevity of the ministry he founded. In fact, before he was even born, his parents devoted him to the Lord for work in China, though they did not inform him of this until later in his life. But they prayed in faith. And when the day of Hudson’s salvation came, he began to seek the Lord as to what he should do and where he should go. By the loving power of the Holy Spirit, God gripped Hudson’s heart with a burden for China that would not let go, and the rest is history.

Hudson’s secret is not the secret of external success. It has nothing to do with how to found and grow a big ministry. Rather, Hudson’s secret is the secret of heartfelt, childlike, grace-empowered submission to our Lord and Savior. It is simple surrender to Jesus Christ who has done it all, paid it all, and is in himself all.

So, Jesus, please give us hearts to seek you, to know you, and to submit to your will for our lives and ministries. Show us the way we should go, and then lead us in that way. Give us all the passion and power we need to do your will, whatever your will is. You are our treasure and our delight, and if we have you we have everything. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers when we pray by faith, according to your will. Amen.

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