C T Studd – the gospel of Christ is more precious to receive and give than wealth or fame
1860 – 1931
Charles Thomas Studd was born into a wealthy family in the mid-19th century. Despite his father’s prayerful longing to see him come to saving faith in the gospel, Charles’ education at Eton College and then Trinity College, Cambridge, distracted him from engaging seriously with the Christian faith. Charles’ great cricketing talent was soon recognised by Camridge University and England; indeed, he ended up being one of the stars of the England team in the famous Test Match against Australia in 1882 which was the origin of the long-standing ‘Ashes’ contests.
However, Charles’ world was rocked when his brother, George, became critically ill – causing him to ask questions such as, “What is it worth to possess the riches of the world, when a man comes to face eternity?”. This led Charles to go and hear the American evangelist, D L Moody, preaching – and Charles was converted. Indeed, he felt inspired to go and tell the gospel himself. He writes of how: “There the Lord met me and restored to me the joy of his salvation … 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’.
This conviction to reach the lost with the gospel grew and grew – and Charles became good friends with several others at Cambridge who shared his passion for mission, even to the ends of the earth – a courageous group later known as the ‘Cambridge Seven’. Trusting God would supply all he needed for the future, Charles gave away the considerable inheritance he had received from his father’s estate, and travelled to China as a missionary with his wife Priscilla. After a season of ministry there, Charles, his wife and four daughters, then went on to serve in India, and then in Africa in Sudan – establishing the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade – a mission organisation now working in over 50 countries, with over 1800 fulltime workers preaching the gospel.
C T Studd was a wealthy and famous man who turned his back on his privileged life in the spotlight, to go and proclaim the gospel to some of the least-reached people on earth. His own words are the best summary of his life: ‘If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.’