“A servant of God has but one Master. It ill becomes the servant to seek to be rich, and great, and honored in the world where his Lord was poor, lowly, and despised” – George Muller
Pastor George Mueller was born in Germany in 1805, spent most of his life in Bristol, England, preached nine times in Minneapolis in 1880, traveled to 42 countries between the ages of 70 and 87, and died at the age of 92, the most famous orphanage founder in the world. He built 5 orphan houses, cared for 10,024 orphans in his lifetime, pastored the same church for 66 years, never incurred debt, never asked anyone for money, didn’t take a salary for 68 years, and never went hungry. He lost three children in infancy, his first wife Mary after 39 years, his second wife Susannah after 23 years, and his daughter Lydia when she was 58.
In response to the new teaching that Christ snatches the church out of the world before the Tribulation, Mueller reportedly said, “If you can show me a trumpet after the last and a resurrection before the first, then I can believe this new doctrine.” He was a Baptist who admitted people to his church as members who had only been sprinkled as infants. He served the Lord’s Supper weekly. He rejected life insurance and retirement accounts, preached for Charles Spurgeon, inspired Hudson Taylor, and did follow up for D. L. Moody. Here are some quotes to give you a flavor of his relationship to God.
[On his Calvinism] I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace; so much so that . . . I called election a devilish doctrine. . . . But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the word of God. . . . To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace, were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines. As to the effect which my belief in these doctrines had on me . . . by the grace of God, I have walked more closely with Him since that period. . . . Thus, I say, the electing love of God in Christ (when I have been able to realize it) has often been the means of producing holiness, instead of leading me into sin. ( Narratives and Addresses , Vol. 1, pp. 46, 40)
[On his first wife’s death] When I heard what Mr. Pritchard’s judgment was, viz., that the malady was rheumatic fever, I naturally expected the worst, as to the issue, on account of what I had found out about the action of my dear wife’s heart, when I felt her pulse; but though my heart was nigh to be broken, on account of the depth of my affection, I said to myself, “The Lord is good, and doeth good,” all will be according to His own blessed character. Nothing but that, which is good, like Himself, can proceed from Him. If he pleases to take my dearest wife, it will be good, like Himself. What I have to do, as His child, is to be satisfied with what my Father does, that I may glorify Him. After this my soul not only aimed, but this, my soul, by God’s grace, attained to. I was satisfied with God.” (Vol. 2, pp. 398-399)
[When he almost lost his daughter] My dear wife and I were at peace. Why? Because we did not love her? We loved her intensely. But we were satisfied with God, whatever he might do. (Vol. 2. p. 746)
The Lord never lays more on us, in the way of chastisement, than our state of heart makes needful; so that whilst He smites with the one hand, He supports with the other. (Vol. 1, p. 61)
For the first four years after my conversion I made no progress, because I neglected the Bible. But when I regularly read on through the whole with reference to my own heart and soul, I directly made progress. Then my peace and joy continued more and more. Now I have been doing this for 47 years. I have read through the whole Bible about 100 times and I always find it fresh when I begin again. Thus my peace and joy have increased more and more. (Vol. 2, p. 834)
According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. (Vol. 2, p. 731).
In what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, This happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ. (Vol. 2, p. 731)
What should we make of Mueller? Another clay pot who shows us the surpassing power that belongs to God and not to us.
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org