C.T. Studd

In preparing for an Africa unit study we will be doing next winter I was skimming through a biography of the missionary C.T. Studd. Single-minded devotion to Christ characterized this often controversial man who did nothing by halves, whether it was playing cricket at Eton and Cambridge or serving God in China, India, and central Africa.

The story of C.T.’s courtship with his future wife, Priscilla, is fascinating. Priscilla, a wealthy Irish young woman whom C.T. met in China, was every bit as fiery and devoted as her husband. At their wedding, over her Chinese clothes she wore a white sash with the words “United to fight for Jesus.” C.T. had previously given away most of his fortune, but before the wedding he offered the remaining 3400 pounds to his bride. She refused it, saying, “C.T., what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do?”
“Sell all,” C.T. replied.
“Well then, we will start clear with the Lord at our wedding. Give the money to the Salvation Army and let us trust God together for our needs.” (C.T. Studd: No Retreat, p. 74. Janet and Geoff Benge)

C.T.’s zeal and unrelenting intensity caused great grief in his family and the mission he started. Nonetheless, there is much to be learned from this man who though flawed, took seriously the call to seek first the kingdom of God. Here is some advice he gave to young missionaries:

“This is my final advice to you, so listen carefully. One. If you don’t desire to meet the devil during the day, meet Jesus before dawn. Two. If you don’t want to devil to hit you, hit him first and with all your might so that he may be too crippled to hit back. ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the devil fears and hates. Three. If you don’t want to fall, walk, and walk straight and fast. Four. Three of the devil’s dogs with which he hunts us are a swelled head, laziness and cupidity*. Now, I want to pray for you all, as you know I will continue to do each day you are gone.”

*Cupidity: (I had to look this one up.) Basically it means greed or avarice. Studd has certainly nailed three sins that I continually deal with.


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