Did George Muller Really Live By Faith?

george mueller christian book orphans prayer
Did George Muller Really Live By Faith?

 

Over the years many have held George Muller up as an example of someone who lived by faith.  It was often said (by himself and many others as well) that he maintained the work of the Orphanages and the Scripture Knowledge Institute “by prayer alone, never asking anyone for help”.

For example, in the introduction to the “Autobiography of George Muller” we read that Muller:

“Wholly destitute of funds, is supporting and educating seven hundred orphans, providing everything needful for their education, is in himself an extensive Bible and Tract and Missionary Society, the work is daily increasing in magnitude, and the means for carrying it on are abundantly supplied, while he is connected with no particular denomination, is aided by no voluntary association, and he has asked the assistance of not a single individual. He has asked no one but God, and all his wants have been regularly supplied.”

Now, right from the start I’ll say that I definitely think he was an amazing man of faith.  And I think it was incredible what God did through Muller’s life and fantastic how he was able to depend on God to help so many thousands of lives.

But – from a missionaries perspective – I think there’s more to the story than we sometimes see.  I’ve often seen people today who feel called to missions either  (a) feel guilty because they need to raise funds to work overseas…and therefore don’t feel as spiritual as Muller, or (b) shy away from raising funds at all, trying to imitate Muller’s faith (without always seeing his results!)

The interesting thing is that if you read Muller’s autobiography, you quickly notice that while, technically, he told no one but God the needs that he had, there were many ways he used to make that need indirectly known, and to raise support.

For example,
1. “The Box” – Muller was also a pastor and lived by faith for his support (in contrast to the many pastors who charged “rent” for their pews in the church).  He felt renting out pews was contrary to Scripture and instead put up a box in the church for people to put in their freewill offerings.  This was a radical step for the times.  But it was also a continual reminder to the people that their pastor was depending on God (and indirectly on them) for support.  Every week they saw the box and were reminded of this fact.  He states this in chapter 4 of his autobiography:

“I read Philippians 4 and told the saints that if they still had a desire to do something towards my support, by voluntary gifts, I had no objection to receive them, though ever so small, either in money or provisions…For these reasons especially, there was a box put up in the chapel, over which was written that whoever had a desire to do something towards my support might put his offering into the box.”

2. His “Narratives” – Muller started writing his autobiography and published it within two years of starting his orphanage ministry.  (The first part was printed in August 1837 and covered what was to become the first 8 chapters of his present autobiography.  He continued to publish many additions to it every few years).  Not only did the sales of his narrative bring in a little support, but his book let everyone know that he was living by faith and would have served as indirect encouragement that they could (if they so felt led) support his ministry like the many dozens of people he had written about.

3. Corporate Prayer Meetings – Muller began meeting daily with his staff (those that worked with him in the orphanages, etc) to pray for the needs that they faced in their work (see chapter 12).  So he changed from saying “I told no one but God” to “we told no one but God” about the needs.  While I agree that this still required much faith, the reality is (as told in his autobiography) that it was often the workers themselves, who knew of and saw the financial needs, that gave out of their own money to help the work.

The reason I bring this up is so that missionaries who do raise support do not feel discouraged or unspiritual for using various means to make their needs known.  Obviously, our Heavenly Father knows what we need, He is the one that we go to first, and it is through persistent believing prayer that God can move the hearts of men and women to support the work.  But we also don’t despise means for communicating the message – Muller used his narratives, and many today use newsletters; Muller had a box in the back of the church (and orphanages) and some today have “boxes” on websites, allowing donors to give.

The reason Muller wrote the narratives was to encourage faith and stir the church to attempt great things for God through faith – not to discourage those stepping out in faith!  So yes, Muller lived by faith and it’s my prayer that more and more will likewise live radical, prayerful, faith-filled lives as they attempt to see God’s kingdom impact the nations!


eBook Availability:
George Muller’s “Answers to Prayer” is available below:

THE GEORGE MULLER COLLECTION (5-in-1)
** SALE: 5 books for under $3.00!
** Less than $1 each!

George Mueller online books

 Formats Available:
George Muller books free online Kindle eBook
George Mueller books free online Kobo/Sony eBook
George Muller iTunes iBook iTunes iBook

George Muller (1805-1898) was a man of prayer and courage who through faith established orphanages and schools for thousands of children in England in the 1800’s. He was also well known for his preaching, teaching and missionary work. His life and legacy has been an inspiration to countless thousands of Christians worldwide!

This Collection contains:
1 – Biography of George Muller by A. T. Pierson (1899). A captivating biography of Muller by the missionary statesman A. T. Pierson. (24 Chapters)
2 – Muller’s “Autobiography” (also titled “The Life of Trust”). This is the 1861 version of his larger 6 volume “Narrative”, edited and condensed for a wider audience.
3 – “Answers to Prayer” – a compilation from his “Narrative” recording specific answers to prayer that he experienced. It also includes, among other things, powerful teaching on “How to determine the will of God,” “Five conditions of Prevailing Prayer” and teaching on “Reading the Holy Scriptures”
4 – “Counsel to Christians” – compiled in 1878 (and also known as “Counsel to Converts”), these are excellent messages and sermons of Muller’s on growing as a Christian.
5 – “Preaching Tours and Missionary Labours of George Muller” – compiled in 1883 by his wife, it contains the fascinating accounts of his 9 missionary journeys around the world (North America, Europe and the Mid East).

* Fully searchable, edited and with an Active Table-of-Contents!

 


 

THE GEORGE MULLER COLLECTION, Vol. 2  (6-in-1)
** SALE: 6 books for under $4.00!
** Less than $1 each!

George Mueller online books

 Formats Available:
George Muller books free online Kindle eBook
George Mueller books free online Kobo/Sony eBook  (coming soon!)
George Muller iTunes iBook iTunes iBook  (coming soon!)

This new volume of the works of and about George Muller contains:
George Muller online books

1. A Brief Account of the Life and Labours of George Muller (by his wife)
2. Jehovah Magnified: Addresses by George Muller (34 sermons and addresses)
3. Sermons and Addresses by George Muller (20 sermons and addresses)
4. George Muller: The Modern Apostle of Faith (19 chapters)
5. Ten Years After: A Sequel to the Autobiography of George Muller (11 chapters, 30 illustrations)
6. Andrew Murray on George Muller
George Muller online books
Let your faith be strengthened and your prayer life renewed as you read of the life and ministry of this great man of God!

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