I’ve been reading “Hero Tales” by Dave and Neta Jackson to my kids in the mornings. On Friday, we went through a story about the first person in Ningpo who responded to Hudson Taylor’s preaching after a year of seemingly unfruitful labor. The depiction of a man who’d spent his life in the search for truth finding Jesus, made me choke up a bit. I’ve reproduced it here for your encouragement:
Hudson Taylor was discouraged. He had been preaching in the city of Ningpo for a year. The Chinese were polite and enjoyed gathering to hear Taylor speak. Discussing new ideas was fun to them. But no one seemed to take the Gospel seriously. No one believed it.
And then, after one message, when Taylor felt most like giving up, a respected man stood up and turned to his Chinese countrymen.
“I have been searching for truth a long time,” he said earnestly. “My father and my grandfathers before me searched for the truth, but they never found it. I have traveled far and wide looking for it. I have tried Confuscianism, Taosim, and Buddhism, but have found no rest.”
Taylor looked at the man with new interest. He knew that this man was a leading officer among the Ningpo Buddhists. What was he saying? Was he saying that his religion gave him no peace?
“But tonight,” said the man honestly, “tonight I have found rest. I have heard the truth, and from now on I am a believer in Jesus.”
Hudson Taylor could hardly believe his ears. Could it be true?
A short time later, the man proved his sincerity by taking Hudson with him to the Buddhist meeting and giving his testimony. Soon one of the man’s friends also became a Christian and was baptized.
However, a few nights after the man had accepted Jesus as his Savior, he asked Hudson Taylor a very hard question. “How long have the people in your land known about Jesus?”
“Oh, hundreds of years,” answered Hudson Taylor.
“What?” said the man in amazment. “You knew the truth for hundreds of years and didn’t come to tell us? My father searched for the truth all his life and died without finding it. Why didn’t you come sooner?”
The encounter between a person of peace and the message that God has prepared them for propels the kingdom forward. The person of peace is the mustard seed and the yeast in the dough. We can only find them through persistent prayer and preaching. Taylor’s story invigorates me to continue preaching the gospel to more people though it seems no one is interested because I can expect to eventually find persons of peace out there who will take the gospel on into their sphere of influence and beyond. Let us press on.