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Christians You Should Know: C.T. Studd November 15, 2023

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. – Luke 19:10

A Snapshot of the Life of C.T. Studd:

Born: Dec. 2, 1860 – Spratton, England
Died: July 16, 1931 – Ibambi/Imbi, Belgian Congo (Congo)
Gifted missionary, first director of Heart of Africa Mission, 1912-18, renamed Worldwide Evangelization Crusade, 1919-31. Studd was converted at age 18 as a result of a home visit witness. He became an outstanding cricket player, 1883-85. As one of the Cambridge Seven, he went to China in 1885. While he was there, in 1887, he inherited approximately $125,000.00, which he gave away to Christian work. He married Priscilla Stewart in March, 1888 (died: 1929). Leaving China in 1894 because of health problems, he toured U.S. universities from 1896-97 in speaking engagements. Studd inspired the formation of the Student Volunteer Movement. They went to Oolacamund, India (1900-6), and then he went on to Niangara, Belgian Congo (1910-31). They set up an independent work, having been turned away by mission boards because of his health. They were separated, while Priscilla ran their mission out of London and he labored in Africa. She made one brief visit to Africa in those 20 years. – (Excerpt taken from the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. Used by permission.)

A Spiritual Application for Our Lives:

C.T. Studd was a strong leader, gifted athlete, and bold missionary. While no man is perfect, God delights in using vessels that desire His blessing and power upon their lives. Studd was one such man. C.T. was born into considerable wealth, a household name in England, and one who enjoyed tremendous publicity and pleasure.

During the pinnacle of his fame and success, God was seeking to rouse him from his spiritual slumber. The Lord used the serious illness of his brother to awaken Studd to spiritual realities he had ignored. As he sat hour by hour with his sick brother, a strange thing happened. His dear brother (G.B.) began caring nothing for fame or fortune – he cared only for the things of God. C.T. recalled that time this way: “Now what is all the popularity of the world worth to George? What is all the fame and flattery worth? What is it worth to possess all the riches in the world, when a man comes to face Eternity?” And a voice seemed to answer, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.'”

This was the beginning of Studd’s surrender to God’s will in his life. God used Evangelist D.L. Moody’s preaching to continue to stir him – he felt led toward the Lord’s work in missions. He wondered, “How could I spend the best years of my life in working for myself and the honors and pleasures of this world while thousands and thousands of souls are perishing every day without having heard of Christ?” What about you? How are you spending your days now?

Remarkably, one of the most significant influences came through a brochure written by an atheist attacking Christians. Studd recorded:

“About this time I came upon a tract written by an atheist. It read…’Did I firmly believe, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences destiny in another, religion would mean to me everything. I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought, and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I would labor in its cause alone. I would take thought for the morrow of eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences would never stay my hand, nor seal my lips. Earth, its joys and its griefs, would occupy no moment of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon eternity alone, and on the immortal souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach to it in season and out of season, and my text would be, WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?’

These are penetrating words. How can it be that we, who possess the eternal truth of salvation, keep it to ourselves? How can we dare to casually neglect God’s eternal work? If the mission of Christ was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), are we better than He?

Alone with his Savior, Studd yielded himself to the Lord. C.T. realized that he was holding back part of what Christ had purchased (1 Cor. 6:20). Studd yielded himself fully to the Lord Jesus, and he surrendered his entire life to Christ with the words of Frances Ridley Havergal:

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.

God used C.T. Studd to advance His work in a mighty way! And as we reflect on the story of C.T. Studd, let us cry out to God in the same way. Let God take your life and use it “ever, only, all for thee.”

A Suggestion for Further Reading…

C.T. Studd: Cricketer and Pioneer – Norman Grubb

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