Here’s the question. Can God use ANYONE in His service, in His Kingdom? Or is this just something for intelligent, gifted, sharp men and women? The life of Ian S. Taylor helps to answer that question. Yes, the Lord can use anyone who is prepared to be committed to Him and is open to be used in any way He sees fit. And if such a person is not sharp enough, well then - He simply uses life to sharpen her or him.
Ian is a friend of many years, meeting as we travelled and encountered one another at conferences. A missionary of the old style, but not old-fashioned. One who endured a lot of hardships, standing on many gravesides. But Ian turned out to be a man of prayer, a man of the Book, and a people’s man. An arrow, perhaps (as his story goes) not sharp enough in the beginning, but sharpened by the Master. His life is now described in a book, his auto-biography A SHARPENED ARROW.
Preparing an arrow for the Archer’s use - this is, as the subtitle says, ‘the account of God’s preparation and use of the life of Ian Taylor, missionary and Bible teacher’. Working as a missionary in the jungle made him (from the day I met him, more than thirty years ago) a guy who was and did things I could never be or do, whom I could never imitate in how he was practical, technical, courageous, patient. So I had a deep admiration for him.
His personality as a missionary, as he worked especially in Colombia in the first years, belonged to a former generation. You don’t find many missionaries like Ian anymore, with a four-wheel-drive (probably stuck in the mud time and again), a book store, a printing press, and going from one place to another, planting churches, armed only with a big, thumbed Spanish Bible. (No, that is not true: Ian also mentions how sometimes in the FARC guerilla years he had to carry a weapon!)
Ian may not be, technically, the best of all book authors - speaking honestly, as a former publisher. But he is a great story teller. And the more important thing: while you are reading you realise that he is not telling his own story. It’s about his life, to be sure, but it is God’s story told in his life.
As far as I can follow this, from a distance, Ian continues to allow the Lord to do His sharpening work. ‘The road goes ever on’ (in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien) - and Ian is not quitting. Just read this book about his life, as far as it goes. It will help you to see why life is not easy: the Archer is doing a bit of sharpening here and there.
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