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Charles “Tremendous” Jones has a famous quote that reads, “You are the same today as you'll be in five years except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read.”
How true this is! We are all influenced by the people we meet; therefore, God states, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). God gives further warnings: “Evil communications corrupt good manners” (I Corinthians 15:33). “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge” (Proverbs 14:7).
The books we read are often more powerful than the friends we meet, because every book has a philosophy of life that is either based on truth or error. Paul warns believers to be careful that no man “spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
The books that have had the greatest impact on my life are the biographies of heroes of faith. As I read about their struggles and victories, I tried to learn all I could from them.
If George Mueller lived today, his teenage years would no doubt have included a visit to a juvenile court system for theft and other misdemeanors. However, when he was transformed by faith in Jesus Christ, his weaknesses became his strengths. He became one of the most generous men of his day. As God rewarded him, he urged others to also trust God in the area of money. Few listened to him because of a general fear of future needs.
Therefore, Mr. Mueller established an orphanage in Bristol, England—not just to take care of needy orphans, but to demonstrate to the church people of his day that God could hear and answer prayer for daily needs.
The accounts of miraculous provision fill this book, like the morning that there was literally no food. He asked all the children to bow their heads and thank God for their daily bread. When the prayer was finished, there was a sudden knock on the door. It was the delivery man for a bakery. His truck had broken down in front of the orphanage. Since his delivery could not be made, he asked if the orphanage could use his bread.
Order George Mueller of Bristol online at store.iblp.org.
As I studied the biographies of great Christians, I noticed that many of their ministries strayed from the founder’s vision soon after the founder died. Some even went bad during the lifetime of the founder.
This is unfortunate, because God’s mark of a successful work is not only how much fruit is produced, but how long it lasts. Jesus affirmed this when He said, “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). Based on this, Paul was concerned that his labors would be in vain if those he labored over strayed from the faith (Galatians 4:11).
One day I learned that the work Hudson Taylor began had stayed true for the Lord for more than 100 years and continues even today as a faithful ministry to the Lord. Thus, I became very interested in finding the reason why his ministry lasted when many others failed.
I found a valuable and voluminous resource in the all-time classic, two-volume set written by his son and daughter-in-law, The Growth of a Soul and The Growth of a Work of God.
I learned many valuable lessons from these rich and insightful volumes, especially the “secret” of Hudson Taylor that transformed his life from one of anger and frustration to one of rest and patience in the Lord.
Not only has the work of Hudson Taylor continued, but many of his descendants have also remained true to the Lord. He prayed that his children, grandchildren, and all generations thereafter would remain true to God until the coming of Christ.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of giving a seminar in Taiwan. My interpreter was Hudson Taylor’s great-grandson. He is one of the hundreds of descendants of Hudson Taylor who are faithfully serving the Lord in answer to the prayer of this great missionary statesman.
There is a significant connection between George Mueller and Hudson Taylor. Often, when Hudson Taylor needed a specific amount of money, that amount came in the mail as a gift from George Mueller.
Order the Hudson Taylor two-volume biography online at store.iblp.org.
The story of a man who practiced true religion by caring for thousands of orphans and provided a living demonstration to the believers of his day that God is able to supply the needs of those who give generously to Him. This book is available at store.iblp.org.
In spite of great public pressure for a biography on the life and work of Hudson Taylor, his son and daughter-in-law invested fifteen years to write this classic, two-volume set. It reveals how an ordinary man with extraordinary faith accomplished great things for God. This outstanding set should be in every believer’s library. This book is available at store.iblp.org.
Copyright © 2002–2011, William (Bill) Gothard. All Rights Reserved.