Faithful Foster Father
George Müller, (or Mueller) the founder of Scriptural Knowledge Institute (S.K.I.) was born in Kroopenstadt, Prussia in 1805. Until a prayer meeting while a student at University of Halle, he was a typical partying youth. But now, he felt the call to train to become a missionary to the Jews, and while in London, England for this, an illness forced him to Devon to recover. Even though an alien, he successfully pastored a small church there, and started expanding his preaching outreach throughout the vicinity.
In the Plymouth Brethren congregation, Müller met and married his wife, Mary Groves. The important decision to live on faith alone as taught in the Bible, not even on a church salary was embarked upon by the two.
At the Bethesda Chapel in Bristol the S.K.I. was established to encourage Christians to take the Word earnestly. Also, an orphanage was added to the school, but, evangelism remained always as important as these practical ministerial elements. Müller's work in Bristol came Providentially at a time when only the poor and sick with Cholera were left in the city.
It is here that the most important stories of his ministry must be told, of his total dependence on faith, which, in his case was an extraordinary Charismatic Gift. When there was absolutely no food in the facility for the thousands of children at the table, George would pray, thanking God for the bread and milk that was to be provided, and no sooner than the "Amen" was finished, than in one instance, a knock on the door came, and a baker confessed that "he felt that he was to make extra loaves, and could he use some..."; and then a little later another rap, and a milkman needed to unload his broken wagon in front of the orphanage, "could he use some milk?"
Eventually George Müller would raise tens of millions of dollars, without ever an appeal for it, and he would speak to over 2 million people in over 40 nations before his death in 1898. He never accepted a salary for his work. His funeral was attended by thousands of his orphans, and the whole town of Bristol came out to mourn this great man who started something that brought attention to a situation that was finally improved through the years.
Words of George Muller:
My Heavenly Friend
(Extract from an address given at the Clifton Conference, 1896.)
The precious Lord Jesus Christ is our friend. Oh, let us seek to realize this! It is not merely a religious phrase or statement, but truly He is our friend. He is the Brother "born for adversity," the one who "sticks closer than a brother." Who will never leave and never forsake us.
How precious even on earth to have a heavenly friend, for this brings the joys of heaven in a little degree into our hearts now. This is just what our heavenly Father desires regarding His children, that they might be as happy as they are capable of being while here in the body. Have we entered into this, that the One who is "altogether lovely " is ready hour by hour, to be our Friend?
When we cannot sleep at night, say to Christ, " My precious heavenly Friend, wilt Thou give me a little sleep?" When in pain, say, " My precious heavenly Friend, if it may please Thee, wilt Thou take away this pain? But if not, if Thou sees better that it should continue, sustain, help, and strengthen me, my precious heavenly friend!" When we feel lonely and tired, turn to the precious Lord Jesus; He is willing to be our friend in our loneliness. For sixty-two years and five months I had a beloved wife, and now in my ninety-second year I am left alone. But I turn to my precious Lord Jesus as I walk up and down in my room, and say, " My precious Lord Jesus, I am alone, and yet not alone, Thou art with me; Thou art my friend; now Lord, comfort me and strengthen me, give to Thy poor servant everything Thou sees he needs."
Oh, this is a reality, not a fable, that the Lord Jesus Christ is our friend. We should not be satisfied till we are brought to this, that we know the Lord Jesus Christ experientially to be our friend and habitually to be our friend. Just ponder this. Habitually, never leaving, never forsaking us, at all times and under all circumstances ready to prove Himself to be our friend.
He is willing not merely to grant this for a few months, or a year or two, but to the very end of our earthly pilgrimage. David, in Psalm 23 says: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." Oh, how precious this is. For this "Lovely One" is coming again, and soon. Soon He will come again; and then He will take us home and there we shall be forever with Him. Oh, how precious is that bright and glorious prospect. Here again the practical point is to appropriate this to ourselves. "He is coming to take me -- poor, guilty, worthless, hell-deserving me -- He is coming to take me to Himself." And to the degree in which we enter into these glorious things, the joys of Heaven have already commenced!
And from "Real Faith":
One thing more. Some say, “Oh, I shall never have the gift of Faith Mr. Mueller has got.” This is a mistake – it is the greatest error – there is not a particle of truth in it. My Faith is the same kind of Faith that all of God’s children have had. It is the same kind that Simon Peter had, and all Christians may obtain the like Faith. My Faith is their Faith, though there may be more of it because my Faith has been a little more developed by exercise then theirs; but their Faith is precisely the Faith I exercise, only, with regard to degree, mine may be more strongly exercised.