An amazing thing has happened. Ben Stokes has given his life to Jesus and decided to forget his cricket and he is going to be a missionary. Having received salvation and fullness of life, he has decided that the most valuable thing he can do is share that with others. Cricket fans all over England who have been wowed and entertained all summer are reeling at the news. To some it is madness. To others it makes complete sense.
This is of course, fake news. Sorry about that. However, it is basically what happened in 1885 when C.T Studd was radically converted and got on a boat bound for China with a group of world changing students known as "The Cambridge Seven".
Three years before this, in 1882, he had played in the famous cricket series that led to "the Ashes", most recently competed for this summer by Ben Stokes and the rest of the England team. Having heard DL Moody preach, Charles Thomas Studd had given his life to Jesus and descried himself as "born again". When he and the other Cambridge students, men full of talent and promise, decided to load their own coffins on a boat heading for China with the hope of giving everything to win as many as possible, it sent shock waves throughout England.
Back then, cricket was huge in England. The 19th century stars of cricket were like the football celebrities of today. So this was big news.
These seven Cambridge graduates went to serve Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission and CT Studd was later was responsible for setting up the Heart of Africa Mission which became the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (now WEC International).
The questions we need to ask ourselves are these: what sort of lives will the students in our towns and cities go on to live? What costs will they pay for following Jesus? Will they risk it all for God? Will they choose comfort over calling? Will they disregard their reputation and fame in favour of the gospel? Will they turn the world upside down like the Cambridge Seven before them?
The answers to those questions depend on how we lead them. Are you provoking the students in your church to get uncomfortable? Are you challenging them in their discipleship? Are you stirring them with the great news about Jesus Christ - because when people hear that news, they are never the same again.
Photo credit: Marcus Wallis