Jimmy Davis

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
He was a Chinese lad from Swatow but had spent much of his boyhood as an urchin on the streets of Shanghai where he had early become acquainted with all the vice and corruption of that city.
As he roamed the streets he discovered that the neighborhood of the U. S. gunboats was a fine place to get scraps of food, and so day after day would find him there to paw over the garbage or get handouts from the cooks.
He was an unusually bright and ambitious lad and he soon attracted the notice of some of the sailors and marines. Finally, to his great pride, he was installed as "Cook's boy" on one of the gunboats.
While working on this ship, Jimmy had great expectations that he would in time become an American citizen. But before he could attain this hope, the ship was decommissioned and had to return to the U. S. She was not allowed to take any Chinese personnel with her, so poor Jimmy again returned to the streets.
As he had picked up a good deal of English by this time, Jimmy began to spend his time in the parts of Shanghai where there were more foreigners, and so came in contact with numbers of missionaries. One of these missionaries took him into his own home and sent him to a Christian school. He treated him like a son, but in spite of all his efforts, he finally had to let him go, for it seemed that Jimmy was bound to live his own life. However, "There is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother" (Prov. 18:2424A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)). His eye was upon the wayward lad and He would not let him go.
One memorable evening found Jimmy among a small group gathered for Bible reading in the back room of a Shanghai Bible shop. During the course of the meeting the teacher inquired: "Jimmy, if somebody wanted to buy you, how much do you suppose you would be worth?" Jimmy considered the question carefully and then he answered with great conviction.
“A strong, smart boy of fifteen should be worth at least three thousand dollars!”
“Well, Jimmy, Jesus wants you how much are you worth to Him?" That was another story! Tears suddenly streamed down his face as he replied, "I wouldn't be worth hardly anything to Him." His stated price fell rapidly lower and lower till finally Jimmy had figured that he was "Worth only two cents to Jesus.”
He then received, however, a new idea of what he was really worth. With a shock, which for the moment knocked all the pride out of him, Jimmy learned that the Lord Jesus had esteemed his soul to be of more value than the whole world and had given His own life upon the cross to purchase him, and redeem him from a life of uselessness and sin that he might love and serve God.
Jimmy had often heard his missionary friends read from the Bible such verses as "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:1515This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)), and that "He gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world" (Gal. 1:44Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:4)), but until that day Jimmy had never grasped that it was for him that the Lord Jesus died. Now he realized how worthless he was, indeed, but that Christ should love him was a marvel that he could not understand. But he believed it, and the wonderful truth changed his life completely. His great desire now was to serve in some way the Lord who loved him so greatly.
He left Shanghai some years before World War 2 and went to Hong Kong with the expectation that he might be able to make the gospel known to the thousands of Swatow Chinese who worked in Hong Kong. But he did not find very many who had any interest beyond the question of where their next day's rice would come from.
As soon as the war came, Jimmy's foreign friends were scattered, and he found himself alone. It was apparently that which brought him, on Pearl Harbor Day, knocking at the door of two Canadian missionaries who had decided to ride out the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
Throughout the troublous days of the fighting and the vicissitudes which followed, he shared their dangers. However, Jimmy was essentially a restless character. He had never stayed very long in one place, and his thoughts began to turn again to Shanghai which was more like home to him than anywhere else in China.
He found, however, on his arrival again in Shanghai that all his missionary friends had either returned to their homelands or been interned by the invading Japanese. But the servant left in charge of one of their houses allowed Jimmy to make it his home.
From there he went out faithfully and alone day by day to the villages round about Shanghai and preached the gospel to his countrymen. One such expedition however left him worn out, hungry and ill, and the following morning he failed to appear as usual. When the servant went to his room to find out where he was, he found the Lord had called Jimmy Davis to Himself. He who makes no mistakes had taken him to His eternal home.