Tonight in Perspectives, I learned about a little history that I found fascinating... Imagine Lebron James leaving behind a promising NBA career of fame and fortune to be a missionary to a remote village in China with six other no name guys. You can only begin to wonder of the uproar and awe that would create in the world. This was the Cambridge 7, one especially who was named C.T. Studd.
Charles Studd liked playing sports and he had a particular passion for cricket, the most popular sport in England at the time. He was not athletically gifted but he worked hard at his sport and was determined to become the best cricket player. He spent hours in front of a mirror, perfecting his swing and refusing to smoke or even be in the same room with smokers for fear it would hurt his eyes. As he played and practiced and watched other players, his own game improved to the point where he had mastered every facet of cricket. He became captain of the Eton cricket team and his popularity grew and grew. In 1879, Studd entered Trinity College of Cambridge University (University of Cambridge) and from there his name no longer remained only in cricket circles. Rather, C.T. Studd became a household name throughout Great Britain. By 1883 Charles Studd was the captain of the Cambridge cricket team and he was the idol of undergraduates and school boys and admired by elders. Studd had become the Michael Jordan of cricket. Studd was recognized as the greatest player to have ever played the game, and years later, he was still recognized as the greatest cricket player since.
Yet all the while, his faith in Jesus grew cold. At Eton, Studd and his brothers Kynaston and George, had formed a group Bible study. While at Cambridge, his older brother Kynaston still devoted his heart to serving Jesus but Charles and George were lukewarm. Charles went to the occasional Daily Prayer Meeting and identified himself as a Christian, which, combined with his talents and good nature, gave him a good reputation amongst his peers and throughout the university. But he was not living for Jesus. Studd would later say, "Instead of going and talking of the love of Christ I was selfish and kept the knowledge all to myself. The result was that gradually my love began to grow cold, and the love of the world came in." In short, he was only a nominal Christian.
In November of 1883, Charles' younger brother George was dying. Charles loved his brother dearly and he was stricken with grief. But God used this event to change his life. When Charles looked at his dying brother, who was also a popular cricket player in his own right, he could only conclude, "Now what is all the popularity of the world to George? What is all the fame and flattering? What is it worth to possess the riches of the world, when a man comes to face Eternity?" As George lay dying, his only concern was for the Bible and for the only one who could save him, Jesus Christ. Charles' concern became the same. Miraculously, God restored George's health and at the first opportunity, Charles went to hear Moody. While listening to God's word, Charles's heart was opened. Cricket did not matter; only a relationship with his Savior and Lord Jesus mattered. Charles T. Studd said, "There the Lord met me again and restored to me the joy of His salvation. Still further, and what was better than all, He set me to work for Him, and I began to try and persuade my friends to read the Gospel, and to speak to them immediately about their souls."
Charles gave himself to God and God accepted him. God set him to work and God would use C.T. Studd, in a way greater than the cricket player could have ever imagined.