Did you know that as a ministry we never ask for financial support? It’s true. Why not? It is largely the result of the influence of George Müller. Let me explain.
As a child, I read the biography of George Müller. He lived in the 1800s in England. It is a remarkable story. Müller believed God when Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22, ESV). He set out to live his life in such a way to show the world that it was possible to live by faith. He started an orphanage in Bristol, England. He determined that he would ask no man for financial support, but would give God an opportunity to show his glory. Caring for orphaned children was secondary. Showing that God was faithful was his primary goal. He wrote:
The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1. That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare. 1
Notice the order. It is intentional. His first priority was to glorify God by showing it is possible to live by faith. As a child I was deeply influenced by his life and ministry. I asked myself, “Where are the George Müllers of my generation?” I decided I wanted to live my life by his example. I wanted to give God the opportunity to show my generation that he is faithful to meet all of our needs when we trust in him alone.
As needs arise, I bring those needs to God. Sometimes he miraculous provides. I remember when I was praying about taking a sabbatical. At the time, I was weary from ministering on the road for over 25 years. However, if I took 6 months off the road, that would mean no income during that period. I prayed about it. God confirmed that he was leading me to take the time off. I stepped out in faith and made the commitment to take the sabbatical, not knowing how we would make it financially. Within thirty days, God provided all the finances needed for six months of expenses! It was amazing. And we never asked anyone for one dime.
Other times God has supplied for the ministry by providing work outside of the ministry to cover my personal expenses. (Remember, even the Apostle Paul supported himself outside of the ministry by making tents.) In this way, I am able to free up more resources for the work of ministry without needing to take a salary.
In other situations, I have prayed for a specific need and then go God moved an individual to give. I”ll find in the mailbox a donation from someone who had been to a ministry event many months prior. That week the Holy Spirit led them to give because he knew in advance what we would need. In all situations, God provides exactly what we need. He has always been faithful.
Good men believe differently on presenting needs to their supporters. For me personally, I choose to bring my needs to God alone. In this way, I do not have to wonder if I manipulated someone to give, or if God alone met my needs. It is always God. This does not mean I am more spiritual than those who choose to share their needs publicly. In fact, it is probably just the opposite. It is because I know how weak I am that I committed to this. I know how tempted I am to manipulate others to give. By committing to sharing my needs with God alone, my weakness is removed from the equation.
The result is that I have the blessing of seeing God provide over and over again. I am humbled by his kindness. Then I get to show my generation that God is able to provide all we need when we trust in him alone.
1 George Mueller, A Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealing with George Muller, Written by Himself, Jehovah Magnified. Addresses by George Muller Complete and Unabridged, 2 vols. (Muskegon, Mich.: Dust and Ashes, 2003), 1:103.\
photo credit: www.georgemuller.org
You can learn more about George Müller here: www.georgemuller.org