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"The Life of James Hudson Taylor"


"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Today’s devotional thoughts are taken from the life of James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), pioneer missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (known today as Overseas Missionary Fellowship). Hudson Taylor’s commitment to embracing the language and culture of China is exemplary for modern missionaries. He penned in an 1850 letter: “…Missionaries should be men of apostolic zeal, patience and endurance, willing to be all things to all people.” A survey of Taylor’s life and ministry reveals the critical importance of faith, prayer, and an unwavering commitment to an embodied, missional presence in a culture in which the gospel is considered foreign. The gospel message transcends human culture. It authoritatively announces Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2) to every human ethnicity, language, and location without distinction.

Born and raised in Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England, Hudson Taylor had the privilege of an ordinary, blessed Christian household and upbringing. His father, James Taylor, was a Methodist preacher, and his mother Amelia herself was a woman of intense spiritual devotion. But though acquainted with the Christian faith at an early age, a teenage Taylor later found himself hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and unable to save his own life through religious strivings. But at 17, a skeptical Taylor began reading a gospel tract (titled “Poor Richard”)—which he fully intended to read only as a compelling story, skipping over the spiritual parts—and was cut to the heart by the expression “the finished work of Christ.” Realizing that salvation was a free gift which he could only but receive, Taylor was miraculously converted. Only later did he discover that his mother, hours away on a trip, had been burdened to pray intensely for him for multiple hours. About the time he was converted she suddenly felt a sense of relief, knowing that the Lord had granted her petition. Taylor described the whole unfolding of events as follows: "I sat down to read the little book in an utterly unconcerned state of mind, believing indeed at the time that if there were any salvation it was not for me, and with a distinct intention to put away the tract as soon as it should seem prosy… Little did I know at the time what was going on in the heart of my dear mother, seventy or eighty miles away. She rose from the dinner-table that afternoon with an intense yearning for the conversion of her boy… She went to her room and turned the key in the door, resolved not to leave that spot until her prayers were answered. Hour after hour did that dear mother plead for me, until at length she could pray no longer, but was constrained to praise God for that which His Spirit taught her had already been accomplished—the conversion of her only son. I in the meantime had been led in the way I have mentioned to take up this little tract, and while reading it was struck with the sentence, ’The finished work of Christ.’ … Immediately the words “It is finished” suggested themselves to my mind. What was finished? And I at once replied, ’A full and perfect atonement and satisfaction for sin: the debt was paid by the Substitute; Christ died for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’ Then came the thought, ’If the whole work was finished and the whole debt paid, what is there left for me to do?’ And with this dawned the joyful conviction, as light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit, that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees, and accepting this Savior and His salvation, to praise Him for evermore. Thus while my dear mother was praising God on her knees in her chamber, I was praising Him in the old warehouse to which I had gone alone to read at my leisure this little book."

For 51 years Hudson faithfully served as a missionary in China. Please take a moment today to pause and pray for missionaries serving in communist China, pray for Christians in China, and for the conversion of the Chinese people.

Here are some quotes from Hudson Taylor, I hope they inspire and encourage your faith.

  • "There are three great truths, 1st, That there is a God; 2nd, That He has spoken to us in the Bible; 3rd, That He means what He says."

  • “Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.”

  • "Fruit-bearing involves cross-bearing. There are not two Christs--an easygoing one for easygoing Christians, and a suffering, toiling one for exceptional believers. There is only one Christ. Are you willing to abide in Him, and thus to bear much fruit?"

  • "The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed."

  • "When we work, we work. When we pray, God works."

  • "All our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestations of His grace, power and love."

  • "You do not need a great faith, but faith in a great God."

  • "It is not lost time to wait upon God!"

  • “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”

  • “Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”

  • “Christ liveth in me. And how great the difference…instead of bondage, liberty; instead of failure, quiet victories within; instead of fear and weakness, a restful sense of sufficiency in Another.”

Much love and care,

Pastor Pat

Greece Assembly of God

In Partnership with

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