Charles Thomas Studd, also known as “C.T. Studd,” was born in England in 1860. His father, Edward Studd, had made a lot of money in India and was very wealthy. Charles Studd liked sports just like most young men. Cricket was the most popular sport in England at the time, so he loved it. His older brother Kynaston Studd was a well-known cricket player for Cambridge. C.T., on the other hand, was not a great athlete, but he was determined to get good at the sport. He would work on his swing for hours, using a mirror to help him improve. He didn’t do anything that would hurt him or hurt his cricket skills. Soon, he learned how to play well, and he led his high school cricket team as captain. Studd became a big cricket star when he went to Trinity College at Cambridge University in 1879. People started calling him “the Michael Jordan of cricket,” and everyone in Great Britain knew his name. Soon, he was the captain of the Cambridge cricket team. Students looked up to him, and he was known as a legend at the time. He was very interested in cricket, which was England’s most popular sport at the time. Studd was said to be the best player ever back then and still is today. But that is just a small part of C.T. Studd’s history compared to what has really made his life important.
C.T. was saved in 1878, when he was 18 years old, when a pastor confronted him and really asked him about his relationship with Christ. The same day he gave his life to Christ, so did both of his brothers. As he got better at cricket in college, he became less interested in Christ, and he soon stopped caring about spiritual things. But in November 1883, George, his younger brother, got very sick and was about to die. As C.T. watched in horror and sadness as his brother was hurt, he thought, “What does all the fame in the world mean to George?” Why all the fame and compliments? What good is it to have all the money in the world if a person has to face eternity?” God miraculously healed George, which was a big surprise. The event changed C.T. so much that he dedicated himself to the Lord’s work. Studd decided that the things of this world were not worth his life, so he began to put his energy into things that would last forever.
C.T. was part of a small group of Christian men at Cambridge, most of whom were athletes, who were getting serious about prayer and telling the world about Jesus. They started by telling everyone on their campus about their faith and how Jesus Christ could save them. Many were being won because Studd had a lot of power among college students. During this time, Hudson Taylor, a well-known missionary, began to challenge students in England to help him reach the millions of lost people in China. These young men at Cambridge were moved by his high calling and deep love for China. They talked about joining Hudson’s mission agency and taking the gospel to parts of China that had not yet been reached.
Even though he could have made a lot of money playing cricket and living a comfortable life, he grew up in C.T. determined to follow God’s heart for the world and help Him reach China. Studd’s choice to go to China inspired seven other men at Cambridge to also live for God’s glory and focus on China. Stanley Smith, Montague Beauchamp, and William Cassels joined from the crew team at Trinity. Dixon Hoste and Arthur Polhill-Turner, two students, were both officers in the army before leaving to join Studd. Cecil Polhill-Turner came from C.T. Studd’s own cricket team.
Studd also has to deal with trouble. His father, Edward, died, so his family told him not to leave his mother, who was recently widowed. His older brother tried to stop him from going, but C.T. just quoted Micah 7:6, which says that a person’s enemies are the people in his own family.
Hudson set up a tour of the college campuses in England for the “Cambridge Seven” before they went to China. This gave them a chance to share their stories and encourage students to give their lives to God. During these months of travelling and speaking, God brought many people to faith in Christ and woke up the church to His work around the world.
C.T. Studd told the students at the last meeting of the tour, “Are you living for the day or for life eternal? Are you going to care about what people think, or what God thinks? When we stand before the judgement throne, it won’t matter much what people think of us. But what God thinks will. Then, shouldn’t we just take His word and do what it says?”
The power of the message that these seven were taking to the unreached was based on how real it was. C.T. Studd said, “If I had cared about what people said, I would have never been a missionary.” The Cambridge Seven went to China after telling students to follow the Great Commission. They arrived in Shanghai on March 18, 1885.
C.T. Studd got a lot of money when his father died, but he gave away most of it and only kept £3400 pounds. Priscilla Livingstone Stewart, his wife, asked him, “Charlie, what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do?” “Sell all.” “Well, then, we’ll start our marriage off right with God.” And they gave the rest to help people in need.
Studd would sometimes go back to England and the United States because he was sick. When he did, he would tell students that they should give their lives to the Great Commission. In 1896 and 1897, when the Student Volunteer Movement was just getting started, his brother J.E.K. Studd spoke at Cornell University. This had a big impact on John R. Mott, who would become the leader of the SVM. When Mott got to the meeting late, he heard J.K. Studd say, “Young man, are you looking for great things for yourself? Not look for them! Seek God’s Kingdom first!”
Mott got up the courage to meet with him the next day. He later said that his meeting with Studd was the “decisive hour” of his life. Mott went on to become one of the most important people in the history of missions.
The work of C.T. Studd had an effect on China, India, and Africa. Here are some quotes from CT Studd.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
We must divorce Chocolate and Disobedience, and marry Faith and Heroism.
My only joys therefore are that when God has given me a work to do, I have not refused it.
Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave His reputation in our hands.
If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.
Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible.
Prayer is good; but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is nothing but a blatant hypocrisy… Don’t hedge! Time flies! … Enlist!
I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures that this world can give. I do not suppose there is one that I have not experienced, but I can tell you that those pleasures were as nothing compared to the joy that the saving of that one soul gave me.
Some wish to live within the sound of church and chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell!
The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home.
True religion is like the smallpox. If you get it, you give it to others and it spreads.
WE ARE FRITTERING AWAY TIME AND MONEY IN A MULTIPLICITY OF CONVENTIONS, conferences, and retreats, when the real need is to go straight and full steam into battle, with the signal for “close action” flying.
Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.
I am getting desperately afraid of going to heaven for I have had the vision of the shame I shall suffer as I get my first glimpse of the Lord Jesus; His majesty, power, and marvellous love for me, who treated Him so meanly and shabbily on earth and acted as though I did Him a favour in serving Him! No wonder God shall have to wipe away the tears off all faces, for we shall be broken-hearted when we see the depth of His love and the shallowness of ours.
All these being men of war came with a perfect heart to make Jesus King over all the world. They were all mighty men of valor for the war! He that was least was equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand! They were not of double heart! Their faces were like the faces of lions! They were as swift as the roes upon the mountains (to do their Lord’s commands)! Ye sought in time past, for Jesus to be King over you. NOW, THEN, DO IT (Compare 1 Chronicles 12:8, 33, 38, and 2 Samuel 3:17-18).
The “romance” of a missionary is often made up of monotony and drudgery; there often is no glamour in it; it doesn’t stir a man’s spirit or blood. So don’t come out to be a missionary as an experiment; it is useless and dangerous. Only come if you feel you would rather die than not come. Don’t come if you want to make a great name or want to live long. Come if you feel there is no greater honor, after living for Christ, than to die for Him.