I set out to write an entry describing the things that I am learning as I begin the long road of raising support to move to Zambia to become a missionary pilot. I was going to describe different great missionaries of the past and the different methods they used to gain the needed funds to do their life’s work, but… I got lost. Lost in the life of George Mueller. Certainly a worthy life to study, and as I studied his life, I kept asking the same question. What did he do that enabled God to use him so mightily? Further, how can I emulate him so that I too can be a tool used by God to do huge things?
So, first, a little about George himself. He was born in 1805 and lived to the ripe old age of 92. His mother died when he was 14; after wayward teenage years, he found salvation at age 20. After a few years, he became convinced of God’s sovereignty, but more specifically God’s sovereign goodness. From there his ministry took off. He spent most of his life in Bristol, England, pastoring a church, distributing Bibles and books, supporting other missionaries, and running orphanages. He took care of more than 10,000 orphans during his life. The amazing thing about him was that he did all of this without taking a salary, or even EVER asking anyone for money, and he never went into debt. He prayed and God provided; it was that simple. Mueller felt that it was important for his ministries to make it clear to all that God is not only real, but can be trusted with everyday affairs and does actually answer prayers. Every year he would publish and distribute a document showing all of the donations that were given and showing how God answered his prayers.
One well documented story tells of breakfast time in the orphanage when there was no food for any of the children to eat. Mueller sat the children down at the table anyway and thanked God for the food they were about to eat. After the prayer, there was a knock at the door and the local baker was outside with enough bread for everyone, and milk was provided, too, because the milkman’s cart broke down just outside the orphanage, and he had to give the milk away before it spoiled. And that is just one of many many stories about how God provided for George Mueller.
But I think we can see more clearly how God was able to use him from a time when God didn’t answer his prayers. In speaking at his wife’s funeral, after God had not answered his prayer for healing, he said: “The last portion of scripture which I read to my precious wife was this: “The Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory, no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Now, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have received grace, we are partakers of grace, and to all such he will give glory also. I said to myself, with regard to the latter part, “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly”—I am in myself a poor worthless sinner, but I have been saved by the blood of Christ; and I do not live in sin, I walk uprightly before God. Therefore, if it is really good for me, my darling wife will be raised up again; sick as she is. God will restore her again. But if she is not restored again, then it would not be a good thing for me. And so my heart was at rest. I was satisfied with God. And all this springs, as I have often said before, from taking God at his word, believing what he says.”
Further he states what he felt was the most important thing for a Christian to do, and while it doesn’t seem easy, it certainly is simple: “According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion, I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.”
And what did Mueller say was the key to finding your soul happy and satisfied in the Lord? “Now in brotherly love and affection I would give a few hints to my younger fellow-believers as to the way in which to keep up spiritual enjoyment. It is absolutely needful in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the Scriptures be regularly read. These are God’s appointed means for the nourishment of the inner man. . . .Consider it, and ponder over it. . . . Especially we should read regularly through the Scriptures, consecutively, and not pick out here and there a chapter.”
George Mueller took God at his word, and he knew what God’s word said. By the end of his 92 years, he had read the bible cover to cover almost 200 times, helped over 10,000 orphans, established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, traveled to 42 countries and preached to some three million people. Now that’s a life worth emulating!
Most of my information and quotes came from this website, as well as a little help from Wikipedia. 🙂 http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/george-muellers-strategy-for-showing-god