Monday, February 21, 2011
People Who Inspire Me: George Muller
George Muller (sometimes spelled Mueller) was a preacher in England during the 1800s. Born in modern Germany, Muller came to Christ from a background of lying, stealing, and drunkenness. Although raised as a Lutheran, he had no real faith in Christ until he came into contact with a small group of committed believers who met in a home. After turning to follow Jesus Christ and receiving an education in his native Germany, he immigrated to Great Britain where he became a preacher.
Why does George Muller inspire me?
1. He loved the Bible. As a seminary student, he had a strong preference for theological books. However, after seminary, Muller wrote, "God began to show me that His Word alone is our standard of judgment; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, He is the teacher of the people...The Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the Word of God and studying it. The result of this was that the first evening I shut myself into my room to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously."
His love for the Bible and his dependence upon the Holy Spirit led him to adjust his practices as he discovered truth from its pages. For example, through reading the Scriptures, he came to the conclusion that believers should be baptized and that baptism meant immersion. After studying Acts 8:36-38 and Romans 6:3-6, Muller wrote, "I saw that believers only are the proper subjects of baptism, and that immersion is the only true Scriptural mode in which it ought to be attended to." Prompted by his faith and his new understanding of the Scriptures, Muller submitted to immersion as a believer.
2. He was compassionate. He saw the needs of the world and sought to meet them. His heart broke for the thousands of vulnerable orphans on the streets of England in those days. As a result, he started a small orphanage in which he and his wife worked to care for and to educate the children. At first, he and his wife cared for 30 orphaned girls. Eventually, they were able to build enough houses and hire enough workers to care for up to 2,050 at a time. By the end of his life, Muller had cared for 10,024 English orphans.
In addition, he sought to meet the spiritual needs of the world. During his lifetime, he distributed 285,407 Bibles and 1,459,506 New Testaments around the globe through his Scripture Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. He also supported a number of missionaries, including the well-known Hudson Taylor.
3. He was a man of prayer. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Muller's life was his prayer life. He had a deep trust in God. In fact, his ministry was completely dependant on prayer. He never asked anyone but God for the resources needed to care for the orphans or to support his ministry in any way. He wanted the Lord to receive all the glory for anything good that came through his ministry. Therefore, he asked no one else for support. Of course, the Lord provided the support through other people, but those people never received a request of support from him or his co-workers. (They did receive notes of gratitude and financial reports to let them know how the money was spent.)
George Muller was an incredible man of faith in Christ.