This is quite a lengthy review as God has used it to stir my heart, I pray that you will be encouraged by Hudson Taylor's life.
Biographies/autobiographies are my favorite genre of books to read, and... I am always inspired by missionaries and Christian leaders, so I picked Husdon Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr and Mrs Howard Taylor for my reading last month.
Hudson was born in 1832 and is perhaps best known for starting China Inland Mission, now called, Overseas Missionary Fellowship.
His work began alone and in less than 50 years, there were over 750 members of the mission organization.
His work was supported by Christian contemporaries, including D.L. Moody and George Mueller.
Perhaps his most famous quote:
"Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small. Depend upon it, God's work, done in God's way, will never lack God's supplies."
and this more convicting one:
"there is a needs-be for us to give ourselves for the life of the world. An easy, non-self-denying life will never be one of power. Fruit-bearing involves cross-bearing. There are not two Christs-an easy going one for easy going Christians and a suffering, toiling one for exceptional believers. There is only one Christ. Are you willing to abide in Him, and thus bear much fruit?"
and a prayer that he encouraged his children to pray upon waking:
"Good morning, dear Jesus.
I am so glad you have been by me all night, and have taken care of me.
Teach me how much you love me.
Take care of my heart: make it think good thoughts.
Take care of my lips: only let them speak kind, good words.
Help me always to know what is right and to do it."
At the beginning of his ministry, there was an incredible amount of prayer being brought to the throne during his teen years (age 15-17), when he questioned his parent's faith and wrestled with Christianity. Both his mother and his sister had a burden to pray for his salvation during a particular time period in his life and they both knew that the prayers had been answered, which may be an encouragement to some! His mother vowed not to cease her prayer time until she knew in her heart that her prayer had been answered- wow talk about a women of faith!
Shortly after his conversion at age 17, Hudson sat before the Lord in prayer and expressed a desire for a clear direction or calling on his life. From then on he had his mind and heart set on going to China. He attended only 2 years of formal schooling, but his father, a pharmacist, trained him in medical assisting, he took and job and began evangelizing the poorest of the poor in Hull, England. Since he was going to be headed to China, he decided he better learn how to live with less, ie. less sleep and less money. He lived on rice and oatmeal and often used all of his paycheck for needs he saw around him; more than once he gave away his last coin only to see God's hand at work in the form of answered prayer and monetary provision. He studied the Chinese language by comparing an English copy of the Gospel of Luke to a Chinese copy. He also gave up his first love because she was not willing to serve alongside him in China.
He decided that it would be wisest not to pursue becoming a medical doctor since that would delay his journey and at age 20 he boarded a boat to China. He barely survived the 4-1/2month journey, but God was faithful and the winds changed preventing an shipwreck-twice!
He had a burden to see the inmost parts of China evangelized and this was accomplished. His ministry was unique because he never asked for donations or took offerings when speaking on behalf of the ministry, he felt if it was God's work then he had better depend solely on God for his personal provision and needs of the ministry.
He decided to dress like the Chinese people in order to gain their trust and therefore have a listening ear. One of his visions was for nationals to do the work and run the ministry once established. His life was not physically, spiritually or emotionally easy as he lost his 1st wife and a child while serving in China.
But yet the spiritual secret that he found was in abiding in Christ. In the midst of a bout of discouragement and fatigue, he realized that he did not have to strive to have faith, but merely looking to God and resting in Him was enough. If His life, His death, His work and He himself as revealed in the Word will be the subject of our constant thoughts, then we ARE living the victorious Christian life. That is what it is about. A quote from a book titled, Christ is All, helped confirm that he was indeed on the path of holiness: "The Lord Jesus received is holiness begun, the Lord Jesus cherished is holiness advancing, the Lord Jesus counted upon as never absent would be holiness complete..." And the result was the quote: "we should never be conscious of not abiding in Christ."
Bottom line/lessons learned from reading this book:
1) encouraged to be intentional in my prayer life
2) challenged to be godly, ie. continually abide
3) trust God with more of my "things"
3) bear His cross
4) do with less
I hope you took something away from this, as I did!
You are loved,