Every year about this time, people all over the world, including Christians, are making resolutions about living a better life. Most people eventually fail, as old habits win out and they lose their resolve. What do some people have, that they are able to purpose their life for the Lord and live in victory? These people are seen as great men and women of God, unique to the human experience. However, I believe that God desires this kind of life from every believer. It is a life given over to the will of God.
Let’s look briefly at the lives of George Mueller, Jonathan Goforth, and Robert LeTourneau. Three men who trusted God. Three men who had extraordinary faith that lifted them to heights of spiritual blessings in their lives and the lives of the people they touched. How did they do it? It is through the power of God. They let Christ live through them, as ready vessels unto good works.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. — Ephesians 2:10 (KJV)
George Mueller (1805-1898) was a man who waited on the Lord to answer prayer. He did this to be a witness, to the people around him, that God does indeed care about us and will not forsake our needs, if we only ask him. George Mueller never asked anyone for money, although, by the end of his life he was responsible for the care of thousands of orphans. Besides the orphans, support flowed to missionaries around the world, and thousands more were educated at the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. 1 He was trusted with over $8 million, although his own worldly possessions were valued at about $800 upon his death. 2 On top of this, he was a pastor for all these years.
“I NEVER REMEMBER, in all my Christian course, a period now (in March, 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes.” GEORGE MUELLER 2
What is our lesson from George Mueller? It is that you can trust God for everything and in doing so you will lack for nothing. Most importantly, that in trusting God for everything, God will be glorified and the faith of the Body will be built up.
Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936) was a pioneer missionary to China. He, along with his wife Rosalind, opened up the interior of China and Manchuria to the Gospel message. He, too, was a man of prayer and faith. I am particularly inspired because he pressed on to do God’s work, even through the loss of three children, violence experienced from some of the Chinese people, and sickness of both himself and his wife. 3 Below is an account from his life when he was sixty-nine years old.
One evening, as he sat on a broken chair, by the stove, Jonathan was overcome as he thought about the wonderful life he was leading. He turned to Rosalind and said, “Isn’t it grand to be out here opening up such a place to the gospel. I’d rather be right here than in Windsor Castle.” 4
Their daughter Mary summed up their life as follows:
I. God sustained them even in sickness and in old age.
II. God protected them even from Bandits and Plague.
III. God supplied their needs.
IV. God gave Fruit for their Labors.
V. God rewarded their sacrificial giving.
VI. God helped them make a Permanent Record to His Glory. 5
Jonathan Goforth had great enthusiasm and joy to be serving the Living God. Should we not have this, too? I believe it is there for the asking.
You may not have heard of Robert LeTourneau (1888-1969). He is described in the biography, God Runs My Business, as Farmhand, Foundry Apprentice, Master Molder, Garage Mechanic, Laborer, Inventor, Manufacturer, Industrialist, Christian Business Man, and Lay Evangelist. Mr. LeTourneau started his life like many of us. He got a job, married, and started a family. When he was 32, sixteen years after becoming a Christian, he came to the realization that he had been living an aimless Christian life.
He knelt and prayed, “Lord, I know my Christian life has been a failure. I haven’t been living for You. I have tried to turn over a new leaf, but it just seems I can’t make the grade. I have been ashamed of You.” He said that, as he knelt there, he realized what a coward he had been. He cried out from the depths of his soul, “Lord, if You will give me a victorious Christian life and put the love in my heart that I know ought to be there and fill me with Your Spirit so that I can witness for You, I’ll do whatever you ask me to do from this day on.” 6
Mr. LeTourneau then was lead of God to do his best to be God’s business man. He ran his business with God as his partner. Ninety percent of the business earnings were God’s. His motto was, “Not how much of my money do I give to God, but how much of God’s money do I keep for myself.” 7 His aim was not primarily money, but rather, preaching the Gospel. Mr. LeTourneau traveled extensively, to give the Gospel message, regularly speaking to seven different groups on the weekend. It was this desire to see people saved that characterized his life.
These three men all gave their up lives to follow God’s will. More than anything, they did their work for Christ, just as Jesus did his work for the Father. You see, it is Christ living in you, who does the work. We can do nothing in our own power for God. Even as Jesus said:
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. — John 15:7-8 (KJV)
I pray that you will bear much fruit.
God bless, Mike
1 George Müeller, The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet & Geoff Benge, Copyright 1999 by YWAM Publishing
2 Answers to Prayer by George Mueller, Moody Press
3 Jonathan Goforth, An Open Door to China by Janet & Geoff Benge, Copyright 2001 by YWAM Publishing
4 Ibid, p 193
5. Climbing by Rosalind Goforth, Bethel Publishing
6. God Runs my Business by Albert W. Lorimer, Copyright 1941 by Fleming H. Revell Company, pp 40-41
7. Ibid, p 126