Oscar Wilde once said that by the time people are fifty, they have the face they deserve. I suspect he meant that a lifetime of choices will shape our souls in a particular direction, which will be tellingly reflected in our faces.
Perhaps you’ve heard of a nineteenth-century Christian by the name of George Müller. A remarkable man who cared for more than 10,000 orphans and established 117 schools, educating more than 120,000 children, Müller apparently did his job so well that some people faulted him for educating the poor beyond their station in life. With that kind of heart for the underprivileged, it’s no wonder someone once remarked that Müller “had the twenty-third psalm written in his face.”1
But as a youth, Müller made choices that were shaping him not toward grace but toward ruin. While his mother lay dying, fourteen-year-old Müller was roving around half-drunk with friends. A liar and a thief, he was imprisoned for stealing when he was only sixteen. Then, as a college student, he gave his life to Christ as the result of being influenced by Christian friends.
Though Müller published the answers to his many prayers for God’s provision, thereby influencing people to give, he never directly asked anyone for money to support his orphanage. The donations came pouring in unsolicited, often just in the nick of time. On one occasion, when there was no food, Müller gathered the children around the table to say grace. As they finished praying, a baker knocked on the door with more than enough bread to feed everyone.
Müller’s primary purpose in establishing an orphanage was to encourage Christians to believe that God could supply their needs. He wanted to make a public display of God’s faithfulness by showing how the Lord would provide for the children in his care.
Today let us thank God for revealing his faithfulness through the life of this good man. And let us ask God to shape our souls into the likeness of his Son so we can reflect his peace to others as well.
- Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002), 71.