I enjoyed reading about young Nelson Bell in the Oct. 28, 2022, “Our Daily Bread.” Devotional writer Karen Huang described how Bell graduated from medical school in 1916; later that year he and his young bride, Virginia, arrived in China just six months after they were married. At just 22, the young surgeon began his medical and missionary duties at Love and Mercy Hospital, where he and a few other medical workers did their best to serve more than two million Chinese residents at the only hospital in the region.
Nelson and his family devoted the next 24 years to helping the Chinese people both medically and spiritually. They shared the message of Christ’ love with thousands of new friends while Nelson performed an unbelievable number of surgeries.
When he and his family first arrived in China he was labeled a “foreign devil” by those suspicious of anyone not Chinese. However, as the years passed and the kind surgeon continued unselfishly serving those who needed his help, he became known as “The Bell Who Is Lover of the Chinese People.”
It was more than his medical knowledge and skill which made people trust him; it was how he genuinely cared for those he served by being kind and consistent. He did the very thing the Apostle Paul encouraged, “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” (Titus 2:7, NLT)
Nelson’s message about God’s love was authenticated by his kind attitude and by what he did. In her devotional, Haung described it this way, “Many people around us still don’t know the good news of Christ, but they know us. May He help us reflect and reveal His message in attractive ways.”
It is highly unlikely I will ever make my home in China, and since I am 62 years old with no medical training, I can confidently say I will never be a surgeon. The reality is few of us will ever serve as a missionary or surgeon. All believers are called to share God’s love through our words, and by the way we treat others.
When we commit to living with unselfish love we never fully understand our impact; Nelson and Virginia Bell certainly did not. God touched the Chinese through their lives, and he also blessed the world through their daughter, Ruth, and her husband, Billy Graham. No one knows how God may use our consistent faithfulness to touch others in ways we could never imagine.