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Hudson Taylor 2
Surrender Brings the Call


Abstract: Hudson Taylor’s China venture began at the age of 17 when he offered to do anything God desired if God would only take his heart of stone and replace it with a sanctified heart of flesh.

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’ And He said, ‘Go, and tell this people….’”

“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:32

I’ve heard from a number of you who took heart when you heard about the difficult situation Hudson Taylor faced when he first arrived in China at the age of 22, including a revolution where 15,000 rebels were defending the city of Shanghai against a 50,000 member contingent of the Imperial Army, food was selling at famine prices, the dollar was soaring, he couldn’t find lodging, nor could he afford it since his sending organization had not yet sent an all important letter of credit.

To make matters worse, when the letter finally came, he found his annual income was limited to £80, even though renting lodging in the foreign settlement was £120. Adding further difficulty and embarrassment was the sending organization’s decision to not honor bills exceeding £40 per quarter.

Taylor responded by writing and seeking more realistic support, but responses arrived with hardly any acknowledgment of his struggles, and one even spoke of additional missionaries coming to join him.

Not wanting to remain dependent on friends, he moved to a ramshackle place near the Chinese part of the city, outside the protection of the foreign settlement, where the bullets not only sounded in the distance, but struck his home at times—even cannon-balls.

Needless to say it wasn’t the kind of mission service he had dreamed of back in England, yet he continued determinedly learning the language and sharing his faith as possible. Why was he so committed? Where was his confidence coming from?

It came from a sense of his call to China and the preparatory work undertaken in England. One afternoon when he was 17 he wrote his beloved sister Amelia, requesting her to pray for him as he asked God to remove his heart of stone and give him a sanctified heart of flesh. He wanted to obtain “perfect holiness.”

That very day God responded, as he shared after the fact: “If God would only save me completely, then I would do ANYTHING in His cause He might direct. Never shall I forget the feeling that came over me then. Words can never describe it. I felt I was in the presence of God, entering into covenant with the Almighty. I felt as though I wished to withdraw my promise but could not. Something seemed to say ‘Your prayer is answered, your conditions are accepted,’ and from that time the conviction never left me that I was called to China.”

God’s answer had come so quickly that Taylor was able to add a post script to the aforementioned letter to Amelia: “He has revealed Himself to me in an overflowing manner…. Glory, glory, glory, to His ever-blessed Name! I cannot write for joy. I open my letter to tell you.” 

He immediately began preparing to serve God in China.

What was the secret of His confidence? He was willing to do ANYTHING in God’s cause that God might direct.

I wonder, are we as willing to do ANYTHING in God’s cause that He might direct our way?

I suspect this kind of surrender is also key in God using us as His witnesses on a day to day basis.

These words came home to me this morning in a special way: “It is only through the surrendered life that God can work. God cannot use you in any special way if you are holding back part of your life from Him. If there is one little chamber of which you hold the key, and into which God has not fully entered, he cannot greatly use you. Your intellectuality may be great, your genius may be superb, your social standing may be beyond question. But God does not use people for these reasons. God uses them when he has all there is of them, and ONLY then.” Chapman, Power

I want to be a much-used vessel for God. I think you do too. Basic to His using us is our making a voluntary, unselfish and unequivocal surrender of all we are and all we have, to His service--which for many people has begun as a "willingness to become willing!"

Surrender is OUR part. If we do our part, God will be able to do His part. Won’t you join me in making sure God has ALL of us?

Happy witnessing!

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