Tuesday, April 24, 2012
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” James 2:14.
This verse calls us to put our faith into action. What a challenge it is to practice radical faith that James describes. I am inspired by stories of people who live out their faith in very obvious and dynamic ways. George Mueller grew up in Germany in the 1800s. During college George became a Christian and wanted to become a missionary. His father refused to listen to him and told him he wouldn’t pay for college if George insisted on being a missionary.
George was intent on pursing his calling, and God provided in miraculous ways for him. He eventually became the pastor of a small church in England. The church wanted to pay him a good salary from the money it received renting pews to rich church members who sat at the front of the church. Poor members had to sit in the "cheap" seats in the back. George told them that if was to be their pastor, the practice of favoritism must stop. Even so, he did not allow the church to pay him a salary. He trusted God to meet his needs, and God did. George and his family never missed a meal and were always able to pay their rent.
George believed God was calling him to open an orphanage and care for children. God provided a building, staff, furniture, food, and clothing. George faithfully prayed and worked diligently on behalf of children. The needs of the orphanage were met.
More than 10,000 children lived in the orphanage over the years. As children became old enough to leave the orphanage, George gave each one a Bible in his right hand and a coin in his left. He explained to the young person that if he held onto what was in his right hand, God would always make sure there was something in his left hand as well.
God blessed many through the ministries of George Mueller. While pastoring a church of 1,200 members, he operated Sunday schools that taught thousands of children, oversaw the work of the orphanage for many decades, and supported missionaries.
George Mueller was willing to sacrifice his own comfort and family relationships in order to put his faith into action.
For a balanced life of faith, we are to think about others and act for others. There must be prayer and effort. There must be faith and deeds. It is through deeds that faith can prove itself. Real faith is bound to overflow into action.