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25/09/2013

'British sports personality of the year'

This is the second blog post in a series adapted from Gagging Jesus by Phil Moore and is used here with permission. Gagging Jesus is available here. Scroll down to read the first part of this series.

Seven hundred years after Francis of Assisi gave up everything to follow Jesus, a star of the England cricket team read the same verses in Mark 10. Charles T. Studd was captain of the Cambridge University cricket team and the only English batsman left at the crease when Australia beat England for the first time on English soil in the infamous match which gave rise to The Ashes series. That same year, he became, effectively, British sports personality of the year. He was fabulously wealthy and extremely famous. Then he started listening to the ungagged Jesus.

Charles T. Studd was convicted by Jesus' words to the rich young ruler that his privileged lifestyle was very sinful. It was normal by the standards of Victorian Britain, but he knew it wasn't the lifestyle of a follower of Christ. He reflected later: "Either I had to be a thief and keep what wasn't mine, or else I had to give up everything to God. When I came to see that Jesus Christ had died for me, it didn't seem hard to give up all for him."

He gave away 90 per cent of his family fortune to fund missionaries and orphanages, holding back a mere 10 per cent to help him set up home when he got married. When his fiancee Priscilla read these verses, she refused even this: "Charlie, what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do? Sell all. Well then, we will start clear with the Lord at our wedding."

The British sports personality of the year left for China with only five pounds in his pocket and died almost fifty years later as a missionary in an obscure village 4,000 miles away from home.

It's easy to see why people want to gag Jesus. The real Jesus is expensive. We marshal reasons why these verses don't actually apply to you and me — they are just for the rich young ruler or for medieval playboys or for Victorian cricketers. That's why we need to be honest about four general statements in Mark 10:17-30 that apply to each of us...

Read about these four general statements here on Sunday.

Natalie Williams

Posted by Natalie Williams
05:30


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