Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, left England on September 19, 1853 and arrived in Shanghai, China on March 1, 1954. Do the math. It took five months to make the trip. Today, we can get to the moon faster than that. Taylor’s passion to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the little known Chinese people drove him to go where others had never gone and do what others had never done.
When Taylor died 51 years later, he had brought into China over 800 missionaries, established 20 mission stations, trained over 700 Chinese leaders, raised more than four million dollars, raised up a church of 125,000, and personally baptized at least 50,000. This happened in 19th century conditions when things moved at the speed of slow.
What was Hudson Taylor’s secret?
He became like them.
Taylor didn’t love or establish or preach the gospel to the Chinese as a wise Westerner. He did something unheard of in his time. He clothed himself in Chinese dress, wore his hair like a national, and, for all practical purposes, became Chinese. He became like one of them.
And they believed. By the thousands, they believed.
Today, though they’re forced to worship underground, the largest portion of the church on the planet is in China. Some estimates maintain there could be 200 million Christians in China. That’s 200 million! The Christian population in China could equal two-thirds of the population of the United States. And these Christians are “Christian”, not just church members.
Hudson Taylor discovered the plan of the ages. He became Chinese so they could comprehend what a follower of Jesus was like. Taylor didn’t come up with the ingenious plan. He copied God. The Apostle Paul states it plainly, “He [Jesus] became like one of us.”
Every now and then, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence. There are times, I confess, when God’s bigness is just too big. Sometimes I’m too bombed out, too zapped from the battle called “life” to grasp how enormous He is. Sorry, but when I’m worn out, it’s tough to be a God-thinker. I know, God’s sheer size should comfort me, but most of the time it only overwhelms me. Kind of like Bill Gates explaining his net worth to me. I don’t get.
To help wimpy people like me, God did the unheard of. He became like me.
Think of it. Like me. Like you. Us!
Animals. Stables. Barns (I know it was a cave, but work with me here). Mangers. A starry night. Sheep. Farmers (“Shepherds”). A baby. A pregnant woman. Guests showing up to see the newest addition to the family.
These, I understand. He became like one of us.
God knew we could never comprehend His bigness, so He showed us how much he loved us and wanted to be near us by meeting us in our littleness. Even when I’m weary, this I understand. I get it.
When Hudson Taylor became Chinese, the Chinese believed.
When God became a baby, Bill believed.
And of all the truths in Scripture, this one, for me, is a really big deal.