Galatians 2:20-21 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
George Mueller was a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England which became known as the Mueller Homes, built between 1849 to 1870. He cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime, and provided educational opportunities for the orphans to the point that he was even accused by some of raising the poor above their natural station in British life. He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to more than 120,000.
The resources required to take on such a task would for most people seem insurmountable, but to George Mueller, it only required faith in God. On 20 November 1835, Müller had it in mind to open an orphan house in Bristol to prove that God not only existed but that He heard and answered prayer, and Müller set about doing so on 21 November. He prayed that he might be given £40 as an encouragement but by 23 November he received gifts of around £50 from unexpected sources and the rest was history.
His reasons for establishing this work were:
- That God may be glorified.
- The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children.
- Their temporal welfare.
What does it take for someone to undergo a task that would seem so daunting?
The answer might be found in this statement:
“There was a day when I died, utterly died—died to George Mueller,George Mueller
his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends—and since then I have only to show myself approved to God.”
Mueller clearly didn’t feel the need to show himself approved to this world. The drive to help orphans was not some self-righteous attempt at making himself feel better about who he was, or gain the acclaim of those around him.
George Mueller loved the Lord his God with all of his heart, mind, and soul.
The process of witnessing the Lord do mighty works in and through your life is not found in your level of strength, your ability to reason, or the magnitude of your intellect. The Lord is mighty and when we allow His might to manifest through our lives, it is then that we see mountains move that once looked impossible to climb.
The Day of your Death
Romans 6:6 “We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
I work in health care and occasionally witness a person’s death. I often think about being there to witness the last day of persons life. When we are finishing up with the details of a procedure that was intent on rescuing a person from imminent death, but failing to do so, how I was one of the last people to talk to this person and then seeing the culmination of their life, it can be very sobering. In my field of cardiology, we are really good at keeping people alive, but sometimes the circumstances move into a desperate attempt to salvage a life that hangs in the balance with little hope of survival. The realization of the circumstances are understood by everyone involved so the expectations aren’t exaggerated, but the hope that just maybe we can pull them from what seems like an inevitable demise always remains.
When I first meet someone new, my perspective is limited to knowing a brief history of someones life. I’ll read through the medical history and discover what brought them to this point of care. I will often ask them about their history, what they did for a living, how many children or grandchildren they have, and there are times I gain a limited perspective of what this person’s life entailed. Sometimes I’ll hear the joys of their life and see the peace, other times I’ll hear about the trouble and hardships, and even see the scars representative of days gone by. Whatever the circumstances, each person often times carries a theme throughout their life.
An old woman may share with me her early days on a farm in the midwest. How her father was moved by the military to the northwest and how this was only one of many moves that hadn’t allowed her to grow roots anywhere with significance.
I’ll meet another old woman whose father worked at a nuclear reactor and she will describe how one day her father realized he had torn his protective suit and was exposed to high levels of radiation that brought about the end of his life. I’ll wonder about the pain she experienced watching her father die from radiation poisoning and how that has affected her today.
It’s strange carrying on a conversation with someone one moment, then witnessing them laying on a table without any life left in them the next. If I’ve learned anything from working in health care all these years is that life is very, very, fragile. One moment your tending your garden, you experience some chest pain, you pass out, a friend or family member calls 911, your being rushed to the hospital while they do CPR, then your in cardiology and we are trying to open a vessel that closed unexpectedly and caused your heart rhythm to go into ventricular fibrillation which caused you to pass out. When we do CPR it causes terrible damage to the chest, lines go in everywhere, arteries, veins, through the nose, and down the throat….the craziness seems like chaos but it is actually controlled. If the heart doesn’t respond to the treatment, after a short period of time the CPR stops, the physician calls the time of death, the body is eventually moved to a viewing room for family and then to the morgue.
Look around the room after the emergency and you’ll find caps, tubing, paper, and all the remnants of a group of people moving quickly to save a life…..but to no avail.
For this person, working in her garden was the last thing she would ever do. She thought she was healthy, she may have felt just fine leading up to the tragedy but feelings can be quite deceptive. For many people, good health is only what they experience now while all along the day of their death approached quickly and without warning.
Redeem the Time
Ephesians 5:15-16 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Walking circumspectly is to be careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences.
There are those who want to live long lives but they treat their bodies like garbage. Smoking incessantly and ruining their lungs, drinking and destroying their liver, growing obese and increasingly lazy those that hope for a long life but live contrary to good health do so with a fool’s hope.
Those who hope for salvation after death but live contrary to God’s purposes likewise live a fool’s dream.
There is so much in this world that can destroy the body but people forget that which destroys the soul. I witness the culmination of lives lived that practiced many bad habits and the pain and suffering later in life that resulted. When we read the Bible we can hear about how our decisions in life will affect our spiritual lives on earth and determine the destiny of our lives to come.
Proverbs 24:21-22 “My son, fear the Lord and the king;
Do not associate with those given to change;
For their calamity will rise suddenly,
And who knows the ruin those two can bring?”
For those who walk with the Lord, there is a considerable peace that surrounds them. The troubles of this world diminishes when given the perspective of eternity.
The brevity of life must be considered if we are to live wisely. The opportunities presented come once and then life moves on, health and circumstances change, and the opportunity is gone.
We are given one opportunity for eternal life—-Jesus Christ. If we miss the opportunity for life and godliness, we will have an eternity of regrets.
George Mueller stepped up when the situation presented itself and understood where power and life was to be found. He changed a generation and gave scores of children and families hope that hadn’t existed before.
George understood where real value can be found in life and it wasn’t in trying to hold onto what he had, it was dying to himself that Christ might be glorified.
George Mueller is rejoicing with the Lord today and likely also with many of those God used him to minister to. He has all of eternity to rejoice because he made the most of what he was given and accepted the Word of the Lord as True.
Psalm 4:5 “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.”
It really is this simple. Give your life to Jesus and see what He does with it. George was given faith and upon his faith in Christ did he stand.
What have you been given today?