Hudson Taylor's Thoughts
I actually had a day off somewhere in my later teen years. Shocking, I know. But I suppose one day in a life time is good.
I didn't have to help father at the pharmacy, or do chores, or sit at the dining room table while my parents entertained guests, or--well, you get the picture.
No one was home. I seriously could have the day all to myself. I wanted to dance and shout...Freedom!
I didn't go totally crazy like jump on a bed or anything like that. I was much too old.
I walked around the house looking for choices and happened into my father's library. I loved to read. Filling the day with a good book seemed like a good idea.
I scanned the spines for an intriguing title. Not one jumped out and said, "Pick me, pick me. I'm the book you want to read."
In the corner next to the last shelf was a basket filled with pamphlets. I knew each one would start with an interesting story then switch to a sermon or some such lesson. I didn't want to read the last part, but I though a nice, short story would be fun to read.
I browsed through the basket and found a fantastic story title about a coalman and his wife. Perfect. I curled up in the corner, right there on the floor and devoured the story. For some unknown reason, I didn't notice when the story ended and the sermon began until I stumble on these words: "The finished work of Christ." What strange words. Shouldn't the author have written, "The atoning or propitiatory work of Christ?"
I didn't understand what the author meant. What was finished? I looked at the front of the pamphlet and back at the pages. And then as plain as the pain after stubbing your toe on a rock, I realized the meaning. Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Because He was perfect, his death became the only acceptable payment for my sin, or anyone's sins.
I set the pamphlet down and thought. If the work had been finished at the cross, there was nothing for me to do. All the good things I wanted to do to make God happy and earn my way to Heaven were no good! Jesus took my punishment, He did all the work.
I took a deep breath as though I stood on top of a mountain. It smelled good. Fresh. Sweet. My blood tingled through my veins as I kneeled to the floor. I needed to ask Jesus to be my Savior and to praise Him for what He did for me. And so the words flowed from my heart on that day:
Jesus, I have done many things wrong in my life. There are too many for me to list. You know what they are. And still, you chose to die on the cross for my sins. But you didn't stay dead. You became alive again and went to Heaven. Everything you did was make a way for people like me to go to heaven. There is nothing I can do but to accept your complete work as a gift. Please come live in my heart and teach me Your ways. Guide me to live a life that pleases You.
Many miles away, at a ladies meeting, my mother felt the need to go to a private room. She thought only of me and fell to her knees. She prayed for hours asking the Lord to save my soul. Then, in someway she could not explain, she knew her pray had been answered. She said she simply had a peace that let her know I had asked Christ into my heart.
Back at my house, days had passed before I told my sister I asked Jesus into my heart. "Promise not to tell Mom. I want to tell her myself." She agreed.
The night my mother came home I ran to the door excited to tell her my news. She walked in the house with a huge smile on her face. I didn't know why. Did she have good news? Did I look silly? I took a breath, but before one word fell from my mouth she hugged me and said, "I know. I have been bursting with joy with the good news you have to tell me."
Oh, now my sister was in big trouble. She must have told Mother. "Did Amelia tell you?"
Mother smiled and gave me another hug. "No, my son, God told me when I prayed with Him."
Not many days later, I learned my sister Amelia had prayed, asking God to help me want to ask Jesus into my heart for me a whole month.
Not only did I accept the love of God that night, but I also learned the power of prayer when I heard about my mother's and sister's prayers.
My story continues next week. See you then.
J. Hudson Taylor
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.