By F.S. Anderson @FranLStrickland
A few years ago I read a book that forever changed how I view money and God’s ability to provide for those who trust in Him. It is the true life story of a man who petitioned God through prayer to meet his every financial need. Before he became a Christian he attended seminary at the influence of his biological father who viewed preaching as the best way to make a good living in nineteenth century Prussia. Neither he nor his father believed in Christ so it was purely a decision to insure his future earning potential.
Mr. Müller documents his raucous youth and disregard for the heart of God even as he attended seminary. Eventually he decides he at the least needs to act as a Christian if he’s going to be a preacher. After all, it just wouldn’t look right to the congregation if he didn’t outwardly walk the talk. He writes of his many attempts to turn his life around through his own resolutions and the sheer futility of that struggle. After multiple tries to be “the real deal”, he pretty much gave up on the idea. Soon afterwards he was introduced to a man whom he claimed was the first person he had ever seen pray on his knees. This humble act of submission and the man’s genuine commitment opened his eyes and heart to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and it became the turning point in his life.
When George Müller began preaching in 1832 at Bethesda Chapel in Bristol, England, he was by then a committed Christian. To make a long beautiful story short, he determined not to ask any human being for financial sustenance. He would depend completely on God. As a result, he decided to move the tithing box away from the front of his podium so he would be unable to see what each parishioner tithed. He did this because he did not want to bias his sermons toward those who gave more to the church than others. In addition, he instructed his deacons to pray each week about what his salary should be. He would be content with what the Holy Spirit led them to pay him.
|Click to access Amazon|
The book, The Autobiography of George Müller, is his daily journal of financial struggle and how God met every need. It is an amazing story of how Mr. Müller not only trusted God for his and his wife’s needs as they ministered to others, but how God prompted him to build orphanages for the children whose parents had died in the war. Before all was said and done, Mr. Müller built several orphanages and clothed, fed, and educated thousands of children without ever asking anyone for financial help and without going into debt. His only requests were in the forms of prayers. The donations whether they were money, food, clothing or other items sometimes came from acquaintances and sometimes from strangers, but they came—often just in the nick of time. He recorded daily each of the needs he encountered and how each one was met.
One of my favorite stories that he chronicles is about a sweet woman who contributed much of her inheritance to the church and orphanages. When she told Mr. Müller what she intended to do he sat her down and had a long conversation with her to ensure she had “counted the cost” of giving away funds she might need later to survive her twilight years. She responded that she would give five shillings more as proof of her decision to give cheerfully to the Lord. Meanwhile, she sewed clothing to earn money for her daily needs. As a result of giving so much to the church she did indeed end up penniless when she was elderly having given up her luxuries and retirement fund so others could have food and shelter. When she became so feeble that she could no longer sew to make a living, she recounted God’s provision to her that was provided in the form of other people who stepped forward willingly and selflessly to take care of her without her ever having to ask for help. Her story, observed by Mr. Müller, was a faith builder for a man who was trusting his own daily needs to Christ.
George Müller’s life has been an inspiration to many. Even today his legacy lives on through the George Müller Charitable Trust. The trust exists today to advance Christianity and to aid any disadvantaged persons including orphans. The trust receives donations by check or electronic donations online but never solicits or participates in fund raising activities remaining true to its founder’s belief in prayer. I encourage you to learn more about Mr. Müller through his own autobiography, his other writings, and the links below.
I would love to hear who has inspired you with his or her unshakeable faith!