Wednesday, November 5, 2014
As I put together my list of "Soul Shapers," Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) shows up because of his reckless faith. When I read about the life of this 19th century missionary to China, I always find myself being called and challenged to go deeper in my own faith. Actually, when I see the way this man trusted God, my own faith seems rather mundane, ordinary, and superficial. Taylor was one of those men who put his life and ministry on the line by living as if God was utterly dependable and absolutely able to provide whatever is needed in life. Me? My faith has always seemed more cautious and calculating, one that wants to wait and see if God is going to come through before getting too excited about possibilities.
Hudson Taylor was cut out of the same cloth as George Mueller who was one of his contemporaries in ministry. He, too, depended on God to provide what was needed to sustain his life and the work God called him to do. As a child Hudson Taylor showed a concern for the "heathen" in foreign lands often telling visitors in the family home , "I mean to be a missionary and go to China." When he did go to China, he went not just as a Christian missionary, but also as a medical doctor. Stories of the reckless faith of this man of God are many, but all of them are laced with the belief that God's work is always done in God's time with what God provides. Like Mueller, Hudson Taylor only asked God to provide and provide He did in countless miraculous ways. When faced with what seemed to be impossible, this man whose life was devoted to Jesus would pray and sit and wait for God to act. For him there was never any reason to doubt the faithfulness of God.
Hudson Taylor is regarded as a "soul shaper" because he will not let me be content with this faith of mine. His story creates a thirst and hunger for a walk with God that goes far beyond the plain upon which I presently walk. He makes me desire a deeper relationship with God. The old gospel song pleads, "Lord, plant my feet on higher ground," which is exactly where the witness of this man of God causes me to want to live.