A MIssionary’s Zeal

Excerpt from Wikipedi on Charles Thomas Studd:

“Charles Thomas Studd, often known as C. T. Studd (2 December 1860[1]–16 July 1931, Ibambi, Belgian Congo), was a British missionary.

As a British Protestant Christian missionary to China he was part of the Cambridge Seven who offered themselves to Hudson Taylor for missionary service at the China Inland Mission  , and later was responsible for setting up the Heart of Africa Mission which became the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (now WEC International).

Studd’s wealthy father Edward Studd became a Christian during a Moody-Sankey campaign in England, and a visiting preacher to the Studd household converted C.T. and his three brothers to the faith while they were students at Eton. According to his conversion narrative, the preacher asked him if he believed God’s promises, and as Charles’ answer was not convincing enough, the guest pressed the point. Charles later recalled the moment:

“I got down on my knees and I did say ‘thank you’ to God. And right then and there joy and peace came into my soul. I knew then what it was to be ‘born again,’ and the Bible which had been so dry to me before, became everything.”

Studd emphasized the life of faith, believing that God would provide for a Christian’s needs. His father died while he was in China, and he gave away his inheritance of £29,000, specifying £5,000 to be used for the Moody Bible Institute, £5,000 for George Müller mission work and his orphans, £5,000 for George Holland’s work with England’s poor in Whitechapel, and £5,000 to Commissioner Booth Tucker for the Salvation Army in India.

Studd believed that God’s purposes could be confirmed through providential coincidences, such as a sum of money being donated spontaneously at just the right moment. He encouraged Christians to take risks in planning missionary ventures, trusting in God to provide. His spirituality was intense, and he mostly read only the Bible. Another work that influenced him was The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. ……Studd also believed in plain speaking and muscular Christianity.  He called for Christians to abandon  worldly things.  He believed that missionary work was urgent, and that those who were unevangelized would be condemned to hell.”

Of his missionary work he said,

“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
From Cathy Byrd;s reflection:  I have never felt led to go overseas on mission teams or become a foreign missionary.  But I had heard the quote above and wrote it in my journal the first time I heard it. I modified it slightly, however, as I couldn’t remember the quote exactly.  I wrote: 
“Some want to live within the sound of a church’s ringing bell; I want to run a rescue squad outside the gates of hell.” 
Close enough. It has often come back to my mind.  I believe that God, in calling me to vocational ministry, has put a missionary’s heart within me but also has led me to understand that mission fields are everywhere and come in many shapes and sizes.…… ”in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

My calling to ministry and missions is here, in my “Jerusalem” (in my home, among those I know), in “Judea” (among those who share the same culture and understandings that I do), in “Samaria” (sometimes among those who are very different from me and even those whom I dislike) and to the ends of the earth (through my prayers and support for those who serve beyond the territory that I have been given.)
This week I’ve been very aware of how close to hell some of the people to whom I minister have been and, unless our ministry actually impacts their lives for Chirst, it is to the gates of hell that they may return.  But in seeing that in their lives,  I see it also in mine….how close I myself was to the gates of hell before Christ intervened and saved me, too.  

No one is beyond His love and HIs reach and Christ doesn’t even NEED us to accomplish HIs salvific grace in the lives of the lost.  We are invited to be part of His work in the world.  When we say “yes” to that, we find life has a different hue, a different priority, a different purpose. 

I thank God in Christ that I have been given the opportunity to share in Christ’s work in the world.  I pray for more to say “yes”, too.  The fields are white with harvest, but the workers are few.