Greater Than Nathan

by MW Cook

I’ve moved to a new place here in Murree. It’s a really nice place with a wonderful view over the neighboring valley. I love it. The flat comes with a lot of books. One of them is Hudson Taylor’s autobiography. I was skimming through it last night and I came across an interesting story.

Taylor was traveling up a river one day. As they went he heard a strange sound. Looking around he saw a man in the water! He was drowning. Taylor couldn’t reach the man himself, but he saw a fishing boat nearby with nets that could save the man. He called out to the fishing boat.
“Come! Come and drag over this spot! A man is drowning!”
Veh bin” They replied. It is not convenient.
“Don’t talk of convenience!” Taylor cried in agony; “a man is drowning!”
“We are busy fishing,” they responded, “and cannot come.”
“Never mind your fishing,” Taylor said, “I will give you more money than many a day’s fishing will bring; only come – come at once!”
“How much money will you give us?”
“We cannot discuss that now! Come, or it will be too late. I will give you five dollars” (a decent amount back then).
“We won’t do it for that,” replied the men. “Give us twenty dollars.”
“I do not possess so much; do come quickly and I will give you all I have!”
“How much may that be?”
“I don’t know exactly, about fourteen dollars.”
At this point they decided to help. Slowly the boat paddled over and the reluctant men let their net into the water to bring up the body of the man. Of course, it was far too late. He was dead. The fishermen were upset because their outrageous demand was delayed while Taylor tried to resuscitate the man.

Taylor saw this incident as tragically sad and full of great significance. I’ll quote him now:

Were not those fishermen actually guilty of this poor Chinaman’s death, in that they had the means of saving him at hand, if they would but have used them? Assuredly they were guilty. And yet, let us pause ere we pronounce judgment against the, lest a greater than Nathan answer, “Thou art the man.” Is it so hardhearted, so wicked a think to neglect to save the body? Of how much sorer punishment, then, is he worthy of who leaves the soul to perish, and Cain-like says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord Jesus commands, commands me, commands you, into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. Shall we say to Him, “No, it is not convenient”? Shall we tell Him that we are busy fishing and cannot go? That we have purchased five yoke of oxen, or have married, or are engaged in other and more interesting pursuits, and cannot go? Ere long “we must all appears before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body.” Let us remember, let us pray for, let us labor for the unevangelized Chinese; or we shall sin against our own souls.

His sober realization is dead-on. If those fishermen should be held responsible for their criminal negligence, how much more should you and I be held accountable for the carefree way we live our lives? How we dance through this world completely convinced that God favors us and will destroy most of the world. You neighbors in Canada, America, Toronto, Niagara, Peterborough, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world are dying and drifting to the furnace because they know not your Friend. Look to your neighbor’s house, there is much work to do.