The Apostle Paul encouraged the members of the Philippian church to "...live a life worthy of the gospel (Php. 1:27)" and to "...take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you (3:17)." One of the best ways to do this today is to look back through history and take note of the men and women who lived lives worthy of the gospel. Hudson Taylor was one of those men.
I often read Christian biographies and encourage others to do the same. I read this book as part of the required reading for those going on an upcoming mission trip to Cambodia in August.
This book isn't truly an 'autobiography'. Rather, it is a short biography put together by Hudson Taylor's son using HT's diary. Like many missionary biographies, the strength of the book is not in its masterfully crafted prose, but rather in the way the reader can see the lived out faith of the man and the mighty hand of a good and sovereign God working in all circumstances for our good and His glory.
What particularly caught my attention and convicted my heart was Taylor's passion for the lost soul's of China. In two stories I found myself repenting of my selfishness and spiritual laziness. In the first one, Taylor describes a scene where he is trying to save a man from drowning by imploring the help of a nearby fishing boat. Those in the boat didn't want to be disturbed with such a task. Taylor pleaded and offered to pay them. Only after a lengthy negotiation, were they willing to casually paddle over to offer help... but it was too late, by this time the man had died. Taylor then points out that we as believers are often in a much worse scenario as we idly stand by while the multitudes perish around us though we have access to the life saver they desperately need - the gospel.
In the second story, after one man becomes a Christian he asks Taylor how long the people of England have had this good news of the Savior. Taylor tells the man that it has been many centuries. To which the astonished man says, "What?! Why did you not come sooner? My father spent his lifetime searching for the truth and perished without it!"