Recently I read the Autobiography of Hudson Taylor. He left for China as a young, 21 year old missionary in September of 1853. He was a radical man who believed that God would always provide and tells of many times when just at the last minute God would come through. He believed most missionaries were too worldly and took measures to live as simply as possible.
“I am more than ever convinced that if we were to take the directions of our Master and the assurances He gave to His first disciples more fully as our guide, we should find them to be just as suited to our times as as to those in which they were originally given.”
He took on dressing as the Chinese men to better assimilate into the culture and become more accepted, a move that also wasn’t without its critics. He also studied Mandarin to be able to communicate in the native tongue of the people he worked among. After becoming ill and having to return to England for a time, Taylor gained a vision for a new mission focused on evangelizing inland China.
Upon returning the China Inland Mission (CIM) was born in 1885, a ministry that continues today under the name Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) International with missionaries in over 25 countries.
Taylor lived by the principle that God would provide everything needed and that debt was absolutely not an option. Those who signed on as missionaries with CIM went with an understanding that they would take all of their needs to God in prayer and that they wouldn’t ask for funds but would be completely dependent on God.
Taylor makes much of missions today look like a cake walk.
So is this what it should look like? Is going with nothing and no promise of anything foolishness or faith?
Didn’t Jesus even send His followers out in similar fashion?
“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. 2 Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.’” Luke 10:1-4 (NKJV)
Where’s the line between faith and foolishness?
It seems to me they often look quite similar.