Thursday, May 17, 2007

Don't Marry that Man of Faith!

Today, I was thinking about a man I once heard of by the name of George Müller. I heard a very interesting story about him. His wife and him never looked to any needs. They trusted in God to fully provide for their needs as they came. While he had a job, and worked, when all of the fees were taken away, he was only left with about $1,800.00 a year to run an orphanage. Needless to say, they were always very, very poor. But, everytime they would need money, they would always get it, as they trusted in God fully to provide for their needs. One morning, apparently they had run out of food for the orphans. So, they set the table, and prayed that God would bring them some food. There was a knock at the door after the prayer, and there stood the baker, who had, only last night, thought the children might want some fresh bread in the morning. Then, the milkman stopped up, and told them that his milk carriage had broken down outside, and that, by the time it was repaired, all the milk would spoil. He had to have it used up. So, as you can imagine, he told them that the orphanage could use it as they had no milk to go with their bread.

Now, that is a pretty impressive story. I went online to find out if it was true, and found out that George Müller really did, indeed, exist. I found that he was a pagan early in his life, but converted around the age of twenty. Here are some interesting facts [including, a better telling of the story than myself]:

Three weeks after their marriage, they decided to depend upon God alone to provide their needs as already indicated. They carried it to the extent that they would not give definite answers to inquiries as to whether or not they were in need of money at any particular moment. At the time of need, there would always seem to be funds available from some source, both in regards to their private income, and to the funds for his vast projects soon to be discussed. No matter how pressing was the need, George simply renewed his prayers, and either money or food always came in time to save the situation. On February 19, 1832, he records an instance of healing by faith. Suffering from a gastric ulcer, he believed God could heal him and four days later he was as well as ever. In the spring of 1832, he felt he must leave Teignmouth. Craik, his friend, had gone on to Bristol for a visit, and Mueller felt led to go there also. On April 22, he preached his first sermon in Bristol. A friend offered to rent Bethesda Chapel there for a year if the two men would stay and develop a work. Agreeing not to be bound by any stipulation, Craik and Mueller accepted the call. On May 25, 1832, the Muellers settled permanently in Bristol which became his home until he died. A long association with the chapel on Great George Street also began. In July of that year, Bristol was visited with a plague of cholera which took many lives, but none of those among whom he and Craik ministered. On September 17, 1832, his first child, Lydia, was born.
It was on February 25, 1834, that George Mueller founded a new Missionary Institution which he called "The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad." It had four objectives:
1. To assist Sunday Schools, Day Schools and Adult Schools, and where possible to start new ones. 2. To sell Bibles and Testaments to the poor at low prices, and if necessary, to give them free of cost. 3. To aid missionary effort. (This was to provide financial aid to freelance missionaries.) 4. To circulate tracts in English and in various foreign languages.
The Orphan House became a fifth objective, and the most well known enterprise, yet it is right to point out that Mueller was greatly used in developing the other objectives as well.
On March 19, 1834, a son, Elijah, was born but he died the next year, June 25, 1835, from pneumonia, leaving the Muellers with only one child--Lydia. The summer of 1835 found Mueller himself in very poor health, slowing down his pace and giving him time to write "The Narrative of the Lord's Dealing with George Mueller."
For some time he had been thinking about starting an orphanage in Bristol. On December 9, 1835 he presented his burden at a public meeting. No collection was taken, but someone handed him ten shillings and a Christian woman offered herself for the work. After five days of prayer $300 came in and it seemed they might now have enough money to rent a house, equip and furnish it. The other request was for Christian people to work with the children. His basic aim was to have a work - something to point to as visible proof that God hears and answers prayer. His heart went out to the many ragged children running wild in the streets, but that was a secondary reason for starting the orphanage.
He rented Number 6 Wilson Street, where he himself had been living, and on April 11, 1836, the doors of the orphanage opened with 26 children. These were girls between seven and twelve years old.
The second House was opened on November 28, 1836, to care for children from babyhood to seven years of age. In September, 1837, a third house was opened for boys over seven years of age.
Illness plagued Mueller from time to time, and in late 1837 he was very weak. This time his head provided the discomfort. He went to Germany in the spring of 1838 as well as in February, 1840, when he saw his father for a last time. Presumably he still had not accepted Christ as George noted, "How it would have cheered the separation on both sides were my dear father a believer." He died shortly thereafter. The years 1828 to 1843 were surely years of trials for Craik and Mueller as they prayed in everything. All were properly clad and everyone sat down to regular meals in the Houses. Mueller never incurred a debt, and God supernaturally provided for everyone. A well known story indicates the kind of life that was lived:
One morning the plates and cups and bowls on the table were empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy food. The children were standing waiting for their morning meal, when Mueller said, "Children, you know we must be in time for school." Lifting his hand he said, "Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat." There was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and said, "Mr. Mueller, I couldn't sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn't have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some fresh bread, and have brought it." Mueller thanked the man. No sooner had this transpired when there was a second knock at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his milk cart had broken down right in front of the Orphanage, and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it. No wonder, years later, when Mueller was to travel the world as an evangelist, he would be heralded as "the man who gets things from God!"
By March, 1843, he felt the need for a second home for girls. On July, 1844, the fourth house on Wilson Street was opened--the total of his homeless waifs now being 130. A letter received on October 30, 1845, changed his entire ministry... he was now age 40. Basically, it was a letter from a local resident complaining that the noise of the children was a nuisance. They were vastly over-crowded and there was not enough space for land cultivation, washing clothes, etc. He gave the letter much thought, listing the pros and cons. If he were to leave, he would have to build a structure to hold at least 300 orphans at a cost of $60,000. On his 36th day of prayer over the dilemma, the first $6,000 came in for a building program. By June, 1848, he received all of the $60,000 which he needed. He had begun to build the previous year on July 5, 1847, at a placed called Ashley Downs as the bulk of the money had been sent in. Building Number 1 was opened in June, 1849, and housed 300 children with staff sufficient to teach and care for them. It was a seven-acre site and finally cost about $90,000 as legal expenses, furnishings, and land purchase brought the price up higher than anticipated. The old houses on Wilson Street emptied and everyone was now under one roof.
Mueller was becoming a well known Christian leader. He answered some 3,000 letters a year without a secretary. Besides his orphanages, the four other objectives of his Scriptural Knowledge Institution claimed his attention and he continued his pastoral work at Bethesda Chapel also.
In 1850, he felt the need for a second orphanage. Donations began to come in miraculously again and finally, on November 12, 1857, a second building housing 400 children at a cost of $126,000 was built. Number 3 opened on March 12, 1862, housing 450 children, and costing over $138,000. It was housed on 11 1/2 acres. Number 4 was opened November 5, 1868, and Number 5 on January 6, 1870. These last two cost over $300,000 and housed 450 each.
From 1848 to 1874, money came in to improve and expand the work which went from 130 orphans to 2,050 during this time and up to 13 acres. Mueller describes these days, writing in 1874:
But God, our infinite rich Treasurer, remains with us. It is this which gives me peace. Moreover if it pleases Him, with a work requiring about $264,000 a year...would I gladly pass through all these trials of faith with regard to means, if He only might be glorified, and His Church and the world benefited...I have placed myself in the position of having no means at all left; and 2,100 persons, not only daily at the table, but with everything else to be provided for, and all the funds gone; 189 missionaries to be assisted, and nothing whatever left; about one hundred schools with 9,000 scholars in them, to be entirely supported, and no means for them in hand; about four million tracts and tens of thousands of copies of the Holy Scriptures yearly now to be sent out, and all the money expended...I commit the whole work to Him, and He will provide me with what I need, in future also, though I know not whence the means are to come.
His own personal income varied around $12,000 a year, of which he kept for himself $1,800 giving the rest away.
His fellow worker, Henry Craik, died on January 22, 1866, followed by the death of his wife on February 6, 1870. She was 72 and had suffered from rheumatic fever. James Wright married Mueller's daughter, Lydia in 1871 and also replaced Craik as his associate. Mueller himself remarried on November 30, 1871, to a Susannah Grace Sangar, whom he had known for 25 years as a consistent Christian. He was 66 and she in her late forties, a perfect companion for him in his ministries still ahead.

Mueller decided to fulfill the many requests for his appearance around the world. Turning the work over to Wright, from 1875 to 1892, Mueller made 16 preaching trips to various sectors of the world...

It was on January 13, 1894 that his second wife passed away after 23 years of marriage. He was now 89 years old, and was living out his days in Orphan House #3. He preached his last sermon on Isaiah's Vision, March 6, 1898 at Alma Road Chapel in Clifton. On March 10, 1898 the maid went to his room, and found him dead on the floor by the side of his bed. The funeral in Bristol on March 14th has never been surpassed there as tens of thousands lined the streets. The grief of the orphans was evident. He was buried by the side of his two wives...

Over 3,000 of his orphans were won to Christ through his ministry by the Holy Spirit.

As most of you remember [yes, this does have a connection], I commented on a blog entry yesterday about a woman who wants to have a rally basically because she did not get her own way in the dating scene. She is now giving more details, and what we are finding out is that her post was as vague as her "pseudo-relationship." Anyway, Debbie Maken has taken the time to comment on the post. I want you to contrast Debbie Maken's comments with the life and attitude of George Müller:

Here I go on the record. Women wanting or desiring men who earn well is not a reflection of their lack of trust in God or their pecuniary interest in money through marriage. It has to do with simple economics of-- will he be able to provide for a family. This sentiment does not deserve an apology. It is amazing to me that men in this culture voluntarily choose jobs and professions that are dead-ends, they make educational decisions all along the way that have consequences, and yet they think that their choices should be consequence free from the women that may find them interesting or mate worthy. Lack of ambition and lack of development of talents in men is routinely covered up in spirituality, and I do not think any woman should ever have to plead disinterest in future earnings of a man in order to prove they are "nice," or "not mean." When people interview for certain jobs, guess what-- there have to be certain kinds of qualifications in place-- no hospital would hire a doctor who never attended medical school. Why is it that the qualification of earning potenial is always villified? It is one of the elements of consideration for any woman serious about marriage, and no apologies need be had about it. Again, this is a place where parity plays a great deal, and I think that those who have made choices that afford them more monetary rewards should be able to ask for the same in the other partner, as well as asking for the same amount of intellectual development, or parity in looks, etc.

I do want you to start that revolution, and I have some ideas. Please email me through my blog--, and give me your email, so that we can communicate.

Well, first of all, if you are going to start a revolution, you might want to get arguments that are rationally defensable, rather than just this irrational emotionalism.

Worse than that, did you catch what she said here? The man who a woman women marries must be able to take care of a family monetarily beforehand. Well, apparently, Debbie Maken would have to say that her daughter could not marry the Reverend George Müller. While Müller did, indeed, work hard to take care of his family, he did not make enough income to even support his work at the orphanage, much less a family and children.

I just would like to point out that, in the end, history has remembered the Reverend George Müller. In fact, the website from which this was taken, is entitled "Faith Hall of Fame." He is someone who was recognized on a PCA website. There are many Christians today who have not even heard of Debbie Maken. Therefore, for Debbie Maken to make these kinds of comments in light of a great man of faith such as George Müller is simply incredible.

BTW, just so you know, George Müller lived in the ninteenth century, so, he could not be effected by any "modern cultural thinking on marriage."

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