Today, exactly 169 years ago, a boat docked in Shanghai, China. On the boat was a young 21-year-old man. Even before he was born, this young man’s parents, James and Amelia, had prayed, “Dear God, if you should give us a son, grant that he may work for you in China.”
The son was born. His name, James Hudson Taylor – better known just as Hudson Taylor. He was the young 21-year-old who arrived in Shanghai on March 1, 1854.
Hudson Taylor was a remarkable man. In his late teens, he devoted himself to learning Mandarin. He undertook medical studies. He immersed himself deeply into the Bible and prayer. But it was his passion to share Jesus with Chinese peoples that opened his eyes to the need to meet people with their language, in their ways. So, Hudson Taylor took the radical steps of wearing Chinese clothing to identify with those he wanted to reach and worshipping in Chinese-styled buildings. Many other Europeans working in China at that time were appalled. They believed that Hudson Taylor had compromised his calling.
We know that he was only doing what all of us should do when we want to share Jesus with others. We meet them where they are at. We learn to love them for who they are. And we let our words and actions display the difference Christ makes.
In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, the Apostle Paul reminds us of this principle.
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
As you think about the relationships you have with people who do not yet know Jesus, or who have strayed away from Jesus, perhaps you feel like Hudson Taylor when he arrived in Shanghai. You know you’re called to be a witness for Jesus but the next step, the right word, or the thoughtful connection is not immediately clear. Perhaps the Lord is asking you to learn from Hudson Taylor and from the Apostle Paul. Perhaps he is asking you to begin by finding out what the other person is going through, what matters to them, what their hopes and needs are. This doesn’t mean you have to ask lots of questions; more likely it means you show Christ’s love for them by listening to them. You put on their type of clothing, so to speak. And then, over time, you pray that they trust you; you pray for the Lord to open a door for you to share about Jesus.
And then, be prepared to see what the Lord will do.
(Hudson Taylor will go down in Christian history as one of the most remarkable mission workers. He formed the China Inland Mission, later called Overseas Missionary Fellowship, one of the largest mission agencies in the world working in over 40 countries. He journeyed into provinces and regions in China that no one dared to visit. Today, mission agencies have followed his example of sharing Jesus in ways that are culturally meaningful.)
視頻大意翻譯(Brief video Chinese translation):
今天，整整169年前，一艘船停靠在中國上海。 這艘船在幾個月前離開了英國的利物浦。 船上有一個21歲的年輕男子。 在他到達中國的許多年前，甚至在他出生之前，這個年輕人的父母，詹姆斯和阿米莉亞，就已經禱告了。 這就是他們的禱告。 “親愛的上帝，如果你給我們一個兒子，請允許他在中國為你工作。”
兒子出生了。 他的名字是詹姆斯-哈德遜-泰勒--更多的人只知道他叫戴德生。 他就是在1854年3月1日抵達上海的21歲年輕人。
戴德生是一個了不起的人。 在他十幾歲的時候，他致力於學習普通話。 他進行了醫學研究。 他把自己深深地沉浸在聖經和禱告中。 但是，正是他與中國人分享耶穌的熱情，使他看到有必要以他們語言和方式來滿足他們。 這意味著戴德生要採取激進的方法，穿上中國服裝，來認同他想要接觸的人，並在中國風格的建築中做禮拜。 當時在中國工作的許多其他歐洲人都感到震驚。 他們認為戴德生已經妥協了他的使命。
今天，我們知道，他只是在做我們所有人在想與他人分享耶穌時應該做的事情。 我們在他們所處的位置滿足他們。 我們學會愛他們，照著他們的本像。 我們讓我們的語言和行動彰顯出因基督帶來的不同。
當你想到你與那些還不認識耶穌，或已經遠離耶穌的人的關係時，也許你的感覺就像戴德生到達上海時一樣。 你知道你被呼召為耶穌作見證，但下一步，正確的話，或深思熟慮的聯繫並不明確。 那麼，也許，主正要求你向戴德生和使徒保羅學習。 也許他要求你從了解對方正在經歷的事情開始，了解對他們重要的事情，了解他們的希望和需要。 這並不意味著你必須問很多問題; 更可能意味著你通過聽他們說話來顯示基督對他們的愛。 可以說，你穿上他們那種衣服。 然後，隨著時間的推移，你禱告他們信任你。 你祈求主為你打開一扇門，讓你分享耶穌。
戴德生在基督教历史必备纪载为最杰出的宣教士之一。 他建立了中国内地宣教团，后来称为海外宣教团，是世界上最大的宣教机构之一，在40多个国家开展工作。 他深入到中国没有人敢去的省份和地区。 今天，宣教机构以他为榜样，以具有文化意义的方式分享耶稣。
Grace and peace