George Mueller (1805-98) pastored a church in Bristol, England, for more than 60 years, but he was best known for the orphan ministry he began. During his life he cared for more than 10,000 orphans. Remarkably, and intentionally, he never asked for money or other resources to provide for these orphans. Instead he simply prayed and trusted God to provide.
When I read Muller’s biography, I was shocked to learn why he started the orphanage. His primary purpose was not to care for orphans. Instead, he wrote in his journal:
If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House, there would be something which, with the Lord’s blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God, besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted, of the reality of the things of God. This, then, was primary reason for establishing the Orphan-House…. The first and primary object of the work was (and still is:) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked by me or my fellow-laborers whereby it may be seen, that God is faithful still, and hears prayer still.
Muller decided that he wanted to live in such a way that it would be evident to all who looked at his life–Christian and non-Christian alike–that God is indeed faithful to provide for this people. He risked his life trusting in the greatness of God, and in the end his life made much of the glory of God.
God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in his extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate his power to all who are radically depended on him and radically devoted to making much of him.