"Gifts and Giving"
In the biography of George Muller there
are some very fascinating parts that make up the whole of
this apostle of faith. One such part is his philosophy applying
to the subject of gifts and giving. Here is a man who built,
established and ran five major orphanage houses totally on
faith and prayer, relying on the gifts and giving of others
as they were moved by God to give gifts to this great work
the Lord started and performed through him. Proportional to
his income, he was one of the chief givers to this work the
Lord started through him. He never asked one single person
for donations or financial support for this work of the Lord.
He relied solely on secret prayer and petitions to God for
the resources, financial and otherwise, to both build and
run these five orphan houses as well as a major evangelical
organization called The Scriptural Knowledge Institution.
His philosophy is both refreshing and scary, depending on
how much faith in the Lord you have and how much faith you
have in His promises for provision. The book these excerpts
are taken from is George Muller, MAN OF FAITH AND MIRACLES
by Basil Miller. It is available online at: http://www.amazon.com
Today we find that so many people are being turned off to
so called Christian churches and evangelical speakers who
have their hands out to the general public for money, and
even beg their congregations for money on a constant basis.
This is an insult to the Eternal God, who is far from being
broke. One of Mr. Muller's favorite Scriptures was "the
silver and gold are mine." To quote Mr. Miller's book,
he says on page 105, paragraph 2, "The Institution was started
solely with God as its Patron and never once did it veer from
this original plan. Muller felt that God meant what he said
when affirming "the silver and gold are mine." If the
work was centered in the divine will, there would be plenty
of God's silver and gold to promote its Christian interests."
Thus we see (and you will see if you read Mr. Miller's
book about Mr. Muller) that finances are no problem for a
work centered in the divine will. Now let's learn
something of Mr. Muller's philosophy about gifts and giving.
"The SUM total of Mr. Muller's life was giving. He gave himself
in prayer that in return God might give the necessary supplies,
not only for his own family, but also for the large family
of orphans. Basing his life upon receiving from God, in return
he practiced the art of liberality. Since God gave to him
through faith he must also be among those who were faithful
Even the texts that influenced him most were those on giving
and receiving. Throughout his "Narrative" you will find these
passages boldly across the pages. Early he and his wife were
led to that scripture "Sell that ye have and give alms."
(Luke 12:33). This was to be the course of their lives.
They were to be sellers and givers.
The Lord, speaking through His Word, said, "Whatsoever
ye shall ask in my name, that will I do..." (John 14:13).
And Mr. Muller based his work upon this promise, asking largely
that the Father might be glorified.
Since God had told him to open his mouth Mr. Muller never
feared to ask for whatever his work must have. To him this
promise was the foundation of all spiritual and temporal success.
Like a bird, he opened his mouth and the Lord filled it with
the supply of all financial needs.
In Genesis he loved the name Jehovah Jirah, for it meant the
Lord will provide (Genesis 22:14). Grandly did God give
provisions for the Institution and his Orphan Houses.
From the first records of Mr. Muller's donations, we find
him giving on a large scale. During the first year of his
life of trust (1831) he received L151 in answer to prayer;
but he gave L50 of that sum. [A British pound of that time
was worth $5.00] During the second year he gave L70 out of
an income of L195. His income for 1833 was L267 brought in
through faith, and his gifts amounted to L110.
This giving and receiving kept pace with each other during
the long years of his career. For the ten years from 1836
to 1845 his income from all sources was approximately L3,400
and through faith he placed back into the Lord's work about
From 1856 to 1865 his income amounted to L10,670, over $50,000...and
out of this he devoted L8,250, or a total sum of 41,250, to
God's work. Out of L20,500, received from 1866 to 1875, he
turned back to Christian endeavors, nearly an average of L1,800
a year [L2,500 a year - L1,800 = L700]. During the next ten
years, the last of which a direct record is available, he
gave away L22,330 from an income of L26,000, which left him
the sum of L3,670 to live on for a period of ten years, or
a little over $1,800 a year. And it must be remembered that
this decade--`1876 to 1885--was devoted to extensive missionary
travels, which constituted a heavy drain on his personal finances.
These donations came to him through faith alone, and he recognized
that he must be the channel through which God's gifts should
flow out to others in need. He looked upon himself as the
Lord's steward. What money he received he believed should
be given rather than hoarded.
A crippled woman, who through the years was a constant though
small giver to the orphanage work, expressed Mr. Muller's
philosophy of living and giving. She began giving
a penny a week out of her earnings toward the care of the
orphans, and the Lord blessed her so much that she was able
to raise her weekly gift to six shillings, or a dollar and
a half. One gift she wrapped in a piece of paper, on which
she had written: "Give; give--be ever giving. If you are
living, you will be giving. Those who are not giving are not
The total amount Mr. Muller gave away out of his private funds
amounted to approximately $180,000 from the year 1831 to November,
1877. This it must be recalled came out of a poor man's penury.
He had only what he prayed in from day to day.
The Fifty-ninth Report of the Institution, issued May 26,
1898, immediately after Mr. Muller's death, reveals a very
interesting item concerning this servant's method of giving.
Year by year in the annual Reports there were frequent entries
of gifts "from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained
by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven."
Mr. Wright, who succeeded Mr. Muller as head of the Institution,
checked those entries, and found that this servant had given
up to March 1, 1898, the aggregate sum of eighty-one thousand
four hundred and ninety pounds, eighteen shillings and eightpence.
That servant was none other than Mr. Muller himself, who gave
out of his own money more than sixty-four thousand five hundred
pounds to the Scriptural Knowledge Institution alone, and
to other individuals and organizations seventeen thousand
more. It seems inconceivable that a poor man should thus give
more than $407,450 to the work of God.
There is no other case on record of such magnificent gifts
coming from a humbled servant of the Lord. It is estimated
that John Wesley gave away nearly $150,000 to spread the cause
of Christianity. When Wesley died he left behind him a
well worn frock coat, two silver teaspoons--and the Methodist
When Mr. Muller died his entire personal estate amounted to
L169 9s. 4d., approximately $850, or which his household effects,
books, furniture, etc., amounted to well over $500. The only
money in his possession was actually $350. He died a poor
man, though the Lord had entrusted to his hands well over
a half-million dollars.
George Muller looked upon himself as God's steward. One of
the texts which influenced him was, "Give and it shall
be given unto you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together
and running over shall men give unto your bossom."
He believed and saw this promise bountifully verified. "I
had given," he testified, "and God caused to be given
to me again bountifully."
He affirms that he believed what he read in the Bible, and
acted accordingly. Though acting on God's promises, and rejecting
the offer of a stated salary of L55 a year, God literally
gave him a fortune...a fortune which he shared with those
Out of this overflow of experience in giving, Mr. Muller
had very definite thoughts on giving. Giving to him was the
heart of the Christian life...give self in full surrender
to God, and out of what God gives return to Him liberal gifts.
This was his giving philosophy. Let us read and heed some
of his advice on this subject.
"Many of the children of God,' he affirms, "lose in a great
measure the privilege, and also the blessing to their own
souls, of communicating to the Lord's work to the necessities
of the poor, for want of a regular habit of giving."
When asked, "How shall I give?" Mr. Muller responded:
- Seek to keep before you that the Lord Jesus Christ has
redeemed us, and that...we are not our own, because we
are bought with a price....All then that we have belongs
to Him, and we have to look on our possessions as a faithful
- The habitual using of our means, the regularly
communicating as the Lord prospers us, is next to be
attended to. As far as practicable, we should seek to do
this weekly, according to the word--'Upon the first day
of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as
God hath prospered him' (I Cor. 16:2)...
- Every one should do so....
- With regard to the amount to be given, no rule can be
laid down, because what we ought to do should not be done
in a legal spirit, but from love and gratitude to the Blessed
One Who died for us."
On the score of the method of giving, Mr.
Muller was often asked, "How shall I put aside my gifts? Must
I actually separate this money from my other money?"
"That is the simplest," he answered, "and in many respects
the best way....A memorandum book may be kept, in which on
one side is entered what is put aside for the Lord, to be
expended on the poor, or for other benevolent and religious
purposes, and on the other side may be put down what has been
expended, and from time to time a balance may be struck. The
amount thus put aside for the Lord is of course faithfully
to be used for Him, else it would be mocking God; and therefore,
instead of obtaining a blessing, it would rather be a curse."
"Am I to give with the idea of being repaid by the Lord?"
a friend asked this man of prayer.
"Though we should never give," he responded, "for the sake
of being repaid by the Lord, still, this will be the case,
if we give from the right motives. It is God's own declaration
that it will be so. This is plainly to be gathered from the
following passages...'Give, and it shall be given unto you.'...'He
that hath pity on the poor, lendeth unto the Lord; and that
which he hath given will He pay him again.'"...
From his own experience and through the many letters he received
he was well able to give testimony as to the blessing which
comes from systematic giving.
"I enclose a Post Office Order for L5," writes an Irish manufacturer,
"which by the blessing of Almighty God, I am enabled to send
you this year. You will no doubt remember that the first sum
I sent to you was 5s., I think now four years ago; and, indeed
at that time it was a large sum for me to send....
"For some years previous to the time I sent you the first
amount I was at times much perplexed over the subject of giving;
and the end of my reasoning was always that a person so straitened
in circumstances as I was then, was not called upon to give.
I kept this opinion until one of your Reports fell into my
hands, and from the accounts contained therein, was encouraged
to send you the first amount of 5s. Soon after I thought
my circumstances got somewhat easier....I have proved
that just as I give the Lord gives in return....I sometimes
withheld when I ought not, and just as I withheld, the Lord
in His infinite mercy withheld also....But above all, I have
to thank God that my spiritual condition is much improved
since I began to give."
"Since I began to devote a regular proportion of my earnings
to the cause of God," wrote a donor from Orkney, whose gift
amounted to $15, "He has, I rejoice to say, greatly increased
both my ability and desire to do so."