Delving into the past can be a very dangerous thing. This is especially true when the past belongs to a stalwart in the Christian faith. Sometimes these heros of faith seem larger than life. They lived in a sphere that I wonder if I will ever reach. I have been thinking about faith today as I have been reflecting on the life of George Muller. Here is a man who truly lived by faith. And my best attempts at living by faith seem like faint shadows by comparison.
Mueller walked away from financial security to follow the dreams that God gave him. In college, Muller walked away from a woman that he loved to answer God’s call. From moment to moment, God continued to sharpen Muller’s vision and faith. Muller left sure things time and time again for the unknown of trusting in God.
Muller became a preacher and immediately went to work tearing down things He felt were not Biblical. He convinced his newly married bride to give up all of their fine things to provide for the poor. He abolished the practice of pew rent where the rich families paid a fee for the best seats. Muller did this because he thought the practice was favortism which went against the practices outlined in James’ epistle.
Muller took such a bold move even though it could his largest source of income. He had to trust that people would freely give. Some did. Some did not. Muller’s decision has a profoundly negative impact on his salary. But he continued resolute in his decision. One time he and his wife sat down at the dinner table with nothing to eat. They went ahead and prayed thanking God for His provision. After they finished praying, they heard a knock at the door. There was a man standing there with a ham for them to eat.
A few years later, he ups and moves to Bristol after hearing from God. In Bristol, Muller goes to pastor another church. This time he takes no guaranteed salary, splits the pulpit with a dear brother in Christ and abolished pew rent there too. God provides turn after turn. Then George gets a “crazy” idea to start serving breakfast to homeless children and share the Bible with them every morning.
Before long, the Muller household is filled with homeless, poor children each morning. George and his wife did this in faith even when they barely had enough food for their family. God always provided. Money and food came from nowhere. Then George had his wildest idea yet. He opened a school, orphanage and missions fund. Each of these endeavors took off even though there were a lot of naysayers along the way.
Through losing a child to enduring his own personal health problems, George Muller trusted God. He went and ministered among the sick in England when a bad cholera epidemic broke out. He did so even though it presented great risk to his own health. Reading about someone like Muller helps me see how small my faith is and how bit it could be.
I will never ever be George Muller. And I should never really compare myself to other Christians even though it is perfectly safe to be inspired by them. My only measuring stick is Christ. And while nothing I do is more than enough, He is everything I will ever need.
I am both humbled and challenged by Muller’s story. And yet, I must be careful. Muller’s story could condem and crush me if I am not careful. The devil would love that. I should not use it as fuel to go off and show God how serious I am about doing stuff to please Him. Earning God’s approval is something that I can never do. Instead, I should see it as a marker of God’s faithfulness and provision.
Muller’s story shows how much God believs in us. God invites us to be part of His miracles. I should recognize that Muller could have done nothing significant without God. My God is really just that big. And there is nothing impossible for those who believe.
Jesus, I believe. Help me with my unbelief. Forgive me for fearing man, debt, failure and the future. Build up my faith in You. Thank You for believing so much in me. May I hold nothing back from You. Keep me from being double minded. May I have singular vision, walking in faith and not by sight. May this all be done to Your glory. Amen!