From the time he was a small boy, George Müller’s father had intended that he would one day become a clergyman. But Müller resisted that notion violently. As a young man, he squandered one opportunity after another in drunkeness, thieving, fornication, cheating, and lying. On several different occasions, he was arrested and jailed. Yet his father never doubted.
When he went away to study at the university, a friend introduced him to a prayer meeting. There, he came under heavy conviction and was powerfully converted. He suddenly had an insatiable hunger for Scripture. Though he found it difficult to throw off his old habits all at once, he made a valiant effort and he was eventually able to effectually renounce the evils that had such a grip on him for so long. For the sake of Christ, he burnt a novel he was writing. He even renounced the stipend his father supplied him, believing it wrong to accept it since his father opposed the various schemes for mission work he now proposed to do.
Eventually Müller became a pastor and he focused his ministry on the care of the poorest of the poor. He taught his parishioners principles of Biblical stewardship—each was to give as God laid on his or her heart. He placed an offering box at the back of the church where they could give in sight of God alone. He made it a habit to make the church’s needs known to God, and God alone. When he married, he and his wife sold all they had and gave the proceeds to the poor.
His concern for the poor led him to build a network of orphanages. And again, he determined that the work would proceed entirely on faith. He prayed for every penny, never announcing his needs. At every turn, God gave him great success.
On this day in 1834, Müller and his friend Henry Craik announced their intention to form a new missionary society. It was to be called the "Scripture Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad." The grand name and bold vision of the new organization belied the fact that the two men had no money whatsoever and they had no visible means of raising the necessary support for the scheme. Indeed, true to form they had determined ahead of time that they would not seek out donations, would not accept donations from non-Christians, and would not incur any indebtedness.
Nevertheless, the little venture the men intended to aid inner-city Sunday Schools, circulate the Scriptures to the poor, and provide support for missionaries abroad was soon thriving. Within just a few short years it had obtained a world-wide influence and was counted among the most successful Christian organizations anywhere.
Müller always believed that his great faith against all odds was rooted in the great faith of his father—who believed that he would one day serve Christ despite all evidence to the contrary.