From the Archives: The Life of Trust
Born in Germany, the son of a tax collector, George Müller lived a wicked life as a youth but was converted at about age 20 at a Moravian mission. He went to England in 1829 to do mission work and eventually became a preacher affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren. He determined to rely totally on the Lord for his financial support. His policy continued even after he started an orphanage in Bristol. Without direct appeals for funds, his orphanage was supported and grew. By the time he died, more than ten thousand orphans had been cared for in his orphanages—his possessions amounted to merely a few hundred dollars’ worth.
The following is excerpted from his journal, The Life of Trust: A Narrative of the Lord’s Dealings with George Müller.
I STATED TO THE BRETHREN, at the end of October, 1830, that I should for the future give up having any regular salary. After I had given my reasons for doing so, I read Philippians iv., and told the saints that if they still had a desire to do something towards my support, by voluntary gifts, I had no objections to receive them, though ever so small, either in money or provisions . . . .
About the same time, also, my wife and I had grace given to us to take the Lord’s commandment, “Sell that ye have, and give alms,” Luke xii. 33, literally, and to carry it out. Our staff and support in this matter were Matthew vi. 19–34, John xiv. 13, 14. We leaned on the arm of the Lord Jesus. It is now twenty-five years since we set out in this way, and we do not in the least regret the step we then took. As I have written down how the Lord has been pleased to deal with us since, I shall be able to relate some facts concerning this matter, as far as they may tend to edification.
Nov. 18, 1830. Our money was reduced to about eight shillings. When I was praying with my wife in the morning, the Lord brought to my mind the state of our purse, and I was led to ask him for some money. About four hours after, a sister said to me, “Do you want any money?” “I told the brethren,” said I, “dear sister, when I gave up my salary, that I would for the future tell the Lord only about my wants.” She replied, “But he has told me to give you some money. About a fortnight ago, I asked him what I should do for him, and he told me to give you some money; and last Saturday it came again powerfully to my mind, and has not left me since, and I felt it so forcibly last night that I could not help speaking of it to brother P.” My heart rejoiced, seeing the Lord’s faithfulness, but I thought it better not to tell her about our circumstances, lest she should be influenced to give accordingly; and I also was assured that, if it were of the Lord, she could not but give. I therefore turned the conversation to other subjects, but when I left she gave me two guineas. We were full of joy on account of the goodness of the Lord. I would call upon the reader to admire the gentleness of the Lord, that he did not try our faith much at the commencement, but allowed us to see his willingness to help us, before he was pleased to try it more fully . . . .
I would observe here, by the way, that if any of the children of God should think that such a mode of living leads away from the Lord, and from caring about spiritual things, and has the effect of causing the mind to be taken up with the question, What shall I eat?—What shall I drink?— and Wherewithal shall I be clothed?—I would request him prayerfully to consider the following remarks: 1. I have had experience of both ways, and know that my present mode of living, as to temporal things, is connected with less care. 2. Confidence in the Lord, to whom alone I look for the supply of my temporal wants, keeps me, when a case of distress comes before me, or when the Lord’s work calls for my pecuniary aid, from anxious reckoning like this: Will my salary last out? Shall I have enough myself the next month? etc. In this my freedom, I am, by the grace of God, generally, at least, able to say to myself something like this: My Lord is not limited: he can again supply; he knows that this present case has been sent to me: and thus, this way of living so far from leading to anxiety is rather the means of keeping from it. And truly it was once said to me by an individual,—You can do such and such things and need not to lay by, for the church in the whole of Devonshire cares about your wants. My reply was: The Lord can use not merely any of the saints throughout Devonshire, but those throughout the world, as instruments to supply my temporal wants. 3. This way of living has often been the means of reviving the work of grace in my heart, when I have been getting cold: and it also has been the means of bringing me back again to the Lord, after I have been backsliding. For it will not do,—it is not possible to live in sin, and at the same time, by communion with God, to draw down from heaven everything one needs for the life that now is. 4. Frequently, too, a fresh answer to prayer, obtained in this way, has been the means of quickening my soul, and filling me with much joy.
By George Müller
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #14 in 1987]
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