From J. Hudson Taylor's Journal
My great grandparents, James and Betty, frequently ran into weird problems.
They loved the country life but had to move to the city after James had an accident. He managed to find a job in a linen warehouse rather quickly.
As part of settling into their new community they looked for a church, one that believed Jesus Christ died for sins and also believed Christians should live their lives honoring Christ each day. Sadly, they couldn't find one.
Shortly after asking Jesus into his heart, great grandfather James chose to show his love for God by not attending the parties and drinking as he once enjoyed. He decided to spend his extra times doing things for God. Well, the people in his new neighborhood didn't like the idea.
James and Betty decided to have church meetings in their own home. They really didn't want to be by themselves, they liked helping neighbors and men from his work. What could be better than to get together with friends, or help each other, or do fun things together that honored God?
James and Betty invited everyone they knew or had met on the street to come to the church meeting in their home. Soon there were seven members.
When the neighbors discovered men and women attended great grandfather's home church they became quite angry. They simply would not put up with these new people coming into their neighborhood and telling people about Christ. Going to church once a week should be good enough for anyone.The rest of the week should be spent going to parties and drinking.
The neighbors soon realized James and Betty would not easily give up their home church. They met together and decided James and Betty could have their church as long as they stopped talking about living for God, reading the Bible everyday, you know, all that stuff.
James shook his head at the suggestion. "No, we cannot stop giving our lives to Christ." He and Betty continued to read their Bible everyday, and held their church meetings. The neighbors and friends grew more angry.
One Sunday morning, James stood up to preach in his home church. The seven church members opened their Bibles and listened to his words. While they listened, one of the neighbors climbed up the side of the house, crawled across the roof to the chimney, and laid grass across the opening trapping the smoke inside the house. James and the church people ran outside coughing.
Another Sunday, the neighbors stood outside the house and banged pots and pans together. When no one ran outside to make them stop, they set fire to the front door. Some of the church men ran to get water and blankets to put out the fire. Each time a church member went outside to stop the fire, neighbors threw food and rocks at them.
One day, as great grandfather walked down the street, a lady stepped in front of him. In her hand was a dirty pan filled with grease and old food. She spread the mess from the pan all over the back of his coat. My grandfather didn't yell at her or do anything mean. He let her pass then finished walking home.
Week after week the people of the city showed their unhappiness with James and Betty by their cruel acts. Each time James and Betty chose not yell or press charges, or fight. In fact, they prayed specifically for that person. "Kindness will win them," James use to day.
But the trouble didn't stop. A few days later, two men walking down the street pretended to listen to James's words about God. While one man talked with James, the other mixed mud and glass in his hand. When he finished, the first man grabbed James and held him down while the second man smeared glassy mud into James's eyes.
James missed work for several days, which means he didn't earn any money for that time. Since James refused to tell the police what the men did to him, his boss pressed charges to get the money needed for James to pay bills and buy food.
The mean pranks grew worse for a few weeks. Still, James, Betty, and their church prayed for the people of the town asking God's forgiveness. They continued to do acts of kindness for every man and woman in need.
One day the meanness stopped. The people of the town didn't grumble when James or Betty walked by. Men and women smiled back at James and Betty and greeted them with, "Hi" as they passed on the streets. At last their church meetings could be held in peace.
Nine years later my great grandfather died. His son, John, took over the church meetings.
I think it's pretty awesome how great grandfather and great grandmother showed their dedication to Christ. Maybe someday I can be like him.
Next week, I'll tell you about my grandfather. Heh, heh, he, too, did some pret-ty unusual things.
J. Hudson Taylor
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Photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
Research resources: J. Hudson Taylor, An Autobiography by J. Hudson Taylor; It is Not Death to Die, a new biography of Hudson Taylor by Jim Cromarty; Hudson Taylor Founder, China Inland Mission by Vance Christie; J. Hudson Taylor, A Man in Christ, by Roger Steer, and Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor.