A Unique Hero

Hello Friends,

Today, getting back to my theme of “heroes of the faith, I want to share with you the biography of a man who seems to qualify absolutely. In the words of my grandson, who insisted on his own vow of poverty, here was one who embraced the simple life because accumulating wealth would mean “having too much stuff to put away.”

I’ll be borrowing from one of my favorite guys, Reverend J. John, who is a Vicar in England and who has inspired me more than once. To my knowledge he has no “bad press” against him, and furthermore, what he is sharing has really meant something to me.  In the interest of space, I’m going to paraphrase J. John in places, but if you want the original in its entirety, drop me a line and I’ll send you the links. Here’s what J. John has to say about this “Hero of the Faith”:

“One of the fascinating things about Christianity is how very different the great men and women of God are. George Müller (1805–1898) was not just different; he was unique.

Müller was born in what was then the Kingdom of Prussia (now Germany). He was no stranger to the local jails, having been involved in a variety of petty crimes and scams. However, in 1825, he attended a prayer meeting where he encountered Christ. With a call to mission work, he ended up in London working amongst Jews. But it soon became evident that he was a gifted preacher and evangelist, and so became the minister of a chapel.
Soon he and his wife moved to Bristol where they became involved in creating Christian schools and supporting missionaries. Müller established 117 schools that offered Christian education to tens of thousands of children.
However, he is remembered above all for his extraordinary achievements with orphans. In the Britain of the early 19th century the combination of large families, extreme poverty and a high level of adult mortality had resulted in many orphans, most of whom ended up on the street. The state ignored them and in 1836, Müller and his wife began taking them in. Soon, a home for 300 children was built. By 1870, five homes housed 1,700 children. By the end of Müller’s life, he had housed, clothed and educated over 10,000 orphaned children.

This achievement alone would justify Müller’s hero status, but what is astonishing is that in doing what he did he never made requests for financial support. He simply prayed that God would supply all his needs and left it to him to supply them.
And in fact, God did just that. Müller was a meticulous administrator and his detailed accounts reveal that in his lifetime he received £1.5 million pounds in money and gifts; a figure that today would be over £100 million. But always astonishingly generous, he refused donations for his own well-being and died in near poverty.

These figures disguise an astonishing reality. There are many well-attested accounts of how, when he and his staff seemed to be on the point of running out of either food or money, last-minute unsolicited donations or gifts arrived. On one occasion, Müller found himself with 300 orphans assembled for breakfast and no food at all. He simply sat them down at the table and confidently said grace. At this point, a knock at the door occurred. It was a local baker who had woken up at 2 o’clock in the morning with a feeling that he needed to bake more bread than usual and take it to the orphanage. Shortly afterwards a milkman arrived to say that his wagon had broken down outside the orphanage and he wanted to offer his milk to the children. Along with his orphanage work, Müller spent 17 years as a missionary, traveling over 200,000 miles teaching and preaching. His funeral in 1898 brought Bristol to a standstill with tens of thousands of people standing along the route.

Two things must be said. First, Müller was a unique individual and it was his personal decision to never ask for money. He felt that this was what God wanted for him and that it would demonstrate that a miracle-working God still existed. It may also have been due to his pre-conversion tendency to raise money through fraud.

I am reminded of my favourite George Müller quote: ‘Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.’ Indeed that was true then and continues to be true today.”

This next weekend Tony and I will be in Sydney visiting our original Japanese Church.  We are very excited about seeing everyone after about 2 years thanks to Covid.  We’ll have a more ‘current’ hero story for you next week, so stay tuned!

Always, Marsha

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