James Taylor, eighteenth-century English villager, hated Wesley’s circuit riders, viewing them as nothing but targets for his rotten eggs. But one day as he readied his missiles one of the preachers quoted Joshua 24:15: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (KJV). James, about to be married, was smitten. On his wedding day, he prayed so long that he arrived late at his wedding. He announced he had become a Christian. Burdened for his new wife, he picked her up, carried her to the bedroom, and forced her to her knees where she, too, became a Christian.
His grandson, James Hudson Taylor II, continued the legacy by taking his family to China as missionaries during the days before World War II. The children’s boarding school was located in a Chinese city 1,000 miles from their parents, and they were there on December 7, 1941, when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor. When news reached Mrs. Taylor, she writhed in fear and fell on her knees, unable to pray. Worried, a paraphrase of Matthew 6:33 came to mind: “If you will take care of the things that are dear to God, God will take care of the things that are dear to you.”
Meanwhile, far away, the four Taylor children were herded into a concentration camp in Japanese-occupied territory while singing, “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.” The children were detained for five years until liberated by the Americans and allowed to rejoin their parents.
One of the boys, James Hudson Taylor III, grew up to become the general director of China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship)—the great-grandson of the great-grandson of the man who resolved on his wedding day: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
If you don’t want to worship the Lord, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you’re living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you’ll worship their gods. I won’t. My family and I are going to worship and obey the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Dec. 7.