Renowned as the founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM),1 Hudson Taylor’s burden was for the millions in China who had not heard the gospel. His life’s work was to mobilize individuals and resources to reach the Chinese for Christ. Yet as he labored and made frequent return trips to England to impress upon people his worthy cause, the constant lamp to his feet was Scripture. In this exposition on Psalm 41:1, he warns against ignoring the plain biblical injunctions of to consider the poor.
“Blessed is the one that considers the poor:
The Lord will deliver him in the day of evil.” Psalm 41.1
But who is the one so blessed? Not the one who cheaply relieves his own eyes of a painful spectacle by a trifling alms, or relieves himself of the importunity2 of a collector for some benevolent cause. Not the one who quiets his own conscience by gifts which really cost no self-denial, and then dismisses the case of the poor and needy from his thoughts, complacently claiming the blessings promised to the charitable. As for those who seek fame and name by their gifts, we altogether dismiss their case from consideration. The blessing is pronounced on those who consider the poor, who turn their thoughts and attention towards the poor and needy, and who do what they can, at the cost of personal self-denial, to lessen the sum of human woe. Such are blessed indeed, and such shall be blessed: blessing is their inalienable portion.
Do not let us spiritualize the text so as to lose its obvious character. This we Protestants are often in no small danger of doing. How much of the precious time and strength of our Lord was spent in conferring temporal blessing on the poor, the afflicted, and the needy? Such ministrations, proceeding from right motives, cannot be lost. They are Godlike; they are Christlike.
We pen these lines in a Chinese boat, moored by a Chinese village. My heart is full; what shall I say? I implore you to consider the case of these poor, and may the Lord give you understanding.3
1 Now known as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship.
2 Troublesome persistence in solicitation.
3 Hudson Tyler, Hudson Taylor’s Legacy: A Series of Meditations, ed. Marshall Broomhall (Edinburgh: The China Inland Mission, 1931), 33.