6 things to take from ‘The Biography of James Hudson Taylor’

Hudson Taylor is the man who founded the CIM (China Inland Mission) – now known as OMF (Overseas Mission Fellowship) – and he is fairly renowned as ‘a man of prayer’. His biography is a verryyy long book – which is great because it is therefore able to give you a very good sense of the challenges and joys and hardships in Taylor’s life in perspective (but less great because it takes a while to actually finish reading).

This post is a little highlight reel of the parts that most stuck with me (you can view this post as a massive time-saver if you never intend to read the book itself aha). If you do get the opportunity to read it however, then please do read it, and read it to the end. There are many things that I’d love to have been able to share that unfortunately don’t make sense without an understanding of the context (the last chapter of the book detailing the end part of his life, is particularly moving, at one point, he is served by a Chinese couple who thank him for ‘what you have suffered and endured that we might have the gospel!’, but that will mean a whole lot more to you after reading the book).

6 things to take from the example of Hudson’s life (read now, keep on thinking and thinking on them later):

  1. Wanting only Jesus

“The sweetest duties of the day are those that lead to Jesus”

  1. Dependency on Jesus

“He did not consider that he had a warrant to proceed in any sacred duty without a consciousness of that Divine presence. Without it he could not speak even to a handful of little children in a Sunday school; with it he could stand before the mightiest and wisest in the land”

“Prayer as natural as breathing, word as daily bread.”

“Are we not told to seek first the kingdom of God – not means to advance it – and that ‘all these things’ shall be added to us?”

  1. Valuing only Jesus

“I think I can say, through grace, that God’s presence or absence alone distinguishes places to me”

  1. Seeking unity like Jesus

“He was far too large-hearted to be narrowed by circumstances or creeds”

  1. Sacrificing like Jesus

“It is not very difficult to think and honestly though ignorantly say ‘I give up all to Thee and for Thee’. But God sometimes teaches that that little word ‘all’ is terribly comprehensive”

[Many of the missionaries die in China, for many different reasons – the following extract from the letter of one of the women to Hudson really touched me] “It is just possible that you may have heard of the honour that my God and Father has put upon me. Yes, he has trusted me to live without my beloved husband and darling child.”

  1. Humility like Jesus

“About the Lord and his grace and faithfulness he spoke freely; about himself and his service he said nothing. Only by questioning did we learn anything of his own labours or experiences, but when he was thus drawn out, how much he had to tell!”

“Now the heart can no more be filled with two things at the same time than a tumbler can be filled with both air and water at the same time. If you want a tumbler full of water to be filled with air, it has first to be emptied of the water. This shows us why prayer to be filled with the Spirit is often gradually answered. We have to be shown our sins, our faults, our pre-possessions, and to be delivered from them. Faith is the channel by which all grace and blessing are received; and that which is accepted by faith, God bestows in fact. Being filled does not always lead to exalted feeling or uniform manifestation, but God always keeps His word. We have to look to His promises or rest in them, expecting their literal fulfilment. Some put asking in the place of accepting: some wish it were so, instead of believing that it is so. We have never to wait for God’s giving, for God has already ‘blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ We may reverently say, He has nothing more to give; for He has given His all. Yet, just as the room is full of air but none can get into the tumbler save as far as the water is emptied out, so we may be unable to receive all He has given, if the self-life is filling to some extent our hearts and lives.”

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