As I was wrapping up the 12th chapter from The Spiritual Secret of Hudson Taylor (excellent book, by the way), I ran across this lengthy passage that convicted me oh so deeply!
"What he saw now, in the light of the Holy Spirit's teaching, was a meaning so great, so comprehensive, in those few simple words - among the last that fell from the ascending Savior's lips - that it seemed as if he heard them for the first time. He wrote a few months later:
I confess with shame that until that moment the question, What did our Lord really mean by His command, "Preach the gospel to every creature"? had never been raised by me. I had labored for many years, as have many others, to carry the Gospel further afield, had laid plans for reaching every unreached province and many smaller districts in China, without realizing the plain meaning of our Savior's words.
"To every creature"? And the total number of Protestant communicants in that great land was only forty thousand. Double the number, triple it, to include adherents, and suppose each one to be a messenger to eight of his fellow countrymen - even so, only one million would be reached. "To every creature": the words burned into his very soul. But how far was the church, how far had he been himself from taking them literally, as intended to be acted upon! He saw it now, however, and with Hudson Taylor there was but one course - to obey. He wrote that very day:
How are we going to treat the Lord Jesus Christ with reference to this command? Shall we definitely drop the title Lord as applied to Him, and take the ground that we are quite willing to recognize Him as our Savior, so far as the penalty of sin is concerned, but are not prepared to own ourselves "bought with a price" (I Cor. 6:20), or Him as having any claim to our unquestioning obedience? Shall we say that we are our own masters, willing to yield something as His due, who bought us with His blood, provided He does not ask too much? Our lives, our loved ones, our possessions are our own, not His; we will give Him what we think fit and obey any of His requirements that do not demand too great a sacrifice? To be taken to heaven by Jesus Christ we are more than willing, but we will not have this Man to reign over us?
The heart of every Christian will undoubtedly reject the proposition, so formulated, but have not countless lives in each generation been lived as though it were proper ground to take? How few of the Lord's people have practically recognized the truth that Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all! If we can judge God's Word instead of being judged by that Word, if we can give to God as much or as little as we like, then we are lords and His is the indebted one, to be grateful for our dole and obliged by our compliance with His wishes. If, on the other hand, He is Lord, let us treat Him as such. "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"' (Luke 6:46)