By many measures, George Muller had extraordinary success in his ministry. Unlike many who crave attention, Muller craved The Lord. At each step, Muller’s method followed the lead of Psalm 121:
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Such a complete dependence is the aim of any true believer of Christ — and yet we rarely show moments — much less a life of such dependence. Pierson reviews Muller’s life and notes 24 separate aspects of Muller’s development and education God used to make the man who could be used of God to run the orphanage. The education — and then work — of Muller illustrate Paul’s commendation in 2 Corinthians 12:
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God, having saved Muller, then led Muller into a complete dependence upon him (which was the point of God permitting the messenger from Satan buffet Paul. (2 Corinthians 12:7) Muller’s faith did not come in flash but rather it grew over the course of years.
The basic element of Muller’s piety was a complete devotion to the Lord which consisted of study and meditation on the Bible:
8. His satisfaction in the Word. As knowledge of the Scriptures grew, love for the divine oracles increased, until all other books, even of a religious sort, lost their charms in comparison with God’s own text-book, as explained and illumined by the divine Interpreter.
9. His thorough Bible study. Few young men have ever been led to such a systematic search into the treasures of God’s truth. He read the Book of God through and through, fixing its teachings on his mind by meditation and translating them into practice.
20. His habit of secret prayer. He learned so to prize closet communion with God that he came to regard it as his highest duty and privilege. To him nothing could compensate for the lack or loss of that fellowship with God and meditation on His word which are the support of all spiritual life.
Muller’s piety was consciously personal — he relied not upon an abstraction but upon the Triune God. Therefore, communication — reading, meditation and prayer lay at the heart of his life. Such a personal reliance makes sense of Pierson’s observation as to Muller’s preaching:
15. His waiting on God for a message. For every new occasion he asked of Him a word in season; then a mode of treatment, and unction in delivery; and, in godly simplicity and sincerity, with the demonstration of the Spirit, he aimed to reach the hearers.
One does not wait on a word from an abstraction, but rather waits on a friend. Such intense and real friendship, led Muller to a complete dependence upon God:
18. His stress upon voluntary offerings. While he courageously gave up all fixed salary for himself, he taught that all the work of God should be maintained by the freewill gifts of believers, and that pew-rents promote invidious distinctions among saints.
19. His surrender of all earthly possessions. Both himself and his wife literally sold all they had and gave alms, henceforth to live by the day, hoarding no money even against a time of future need, sickness, old age, or any other possible crisis of want.
Which dependence even extended to occasion for service:
10. His freedom from human control. He felt the need of independence of man in order to complete dependence on God, and boldly broke all fetters that hindered his liberty in preaching, in teaching, or in following the heavenly Guide and serving the heavenly Master.
11. His use of opportunity. He felt the value of souls, and he formed habits of approaching others as to matters of salvation, even in public conveyances. By a word of witness, a tract, a humble example, he sought constantly to lead some one to Christ.
Pierson concludes the Muller’s ministry derived from Muller’s seeming weakness. Note the difference between Muller’s true humility — and a false humility which focuses on self. Moses was “very meek” (Numbers 12:3) and he led Israel. Neither humility nor being meek hinge upon self-deprecation but rather in selfless coupled to dependence upon God.
Muller demonstrates humility by seeking to be utterly transparent to the work of God:
To lose sight of this sovereign shaping Hand is to miss one of the main lessons God means to teach us by George Miilleris whole career. He himself saw and felt that he was only an earthen vessel; that God had both chosen and filled him for the work he was to do ; and, while this conviction made him happy in his work, it made him humble, and the older he grew the humbler he became. He felt more and more his own utter insufficiency. It grieved him that human eyes should ever turn away from the Master to the servant, and he perpetually sought to avert their gaze from himself to God alone. “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things—to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Arthur Tappan Pierson. “George Müller of Bristol.”