I love reading about heroes of the faith. Whether it be reading the Bible stories I’ve known since I was a child, glancing through Hebrews 11 to be reminded of the nature of faith, enjoying a biography of one of the post-biblical heroes, or looking around at dear friends who stand as my heroes today, I soak up the stories. Something occurred to me as I pondered my heroes yesterday morning. Their most heroic acts were not great actions of mighty prowess. No, their most heroic acts happened long before that. They happened in moments of ordinary. In mundanity. In simple steps of obedience that seemed almost negligible. That’s where the heroism truly started.
Take George Mueller, for example. He is remembered for his amazing ministry to England’s orphans during a time when poor children were left on the streets to fend for themselves or were sent to poor houses where they were often worked or starved to death. Miraculous stories surround Mueller’s ministry to orphans, but that is not where his heroism of faith began.
Mueller’s greatest act of heroism occurred years before in a dorm room at Halle University where he was enrolled as a student. Cut off from his father’s financial provision, Mueller needed money. In prior years, money had been no issue as gambling and trickery always provided all he needed. Now, however, this changed man knew he could not disobey the Savior who had rescued him by turning back to his sinful ways. He had to find a new way to obtain income.
A preposterous idea filled his mind: pray. Pray? Could God truly care about little details like food, lodging, and school expenses?
Even as a brand new believer, Mueller was not new to religious teaching. After all, the entire focus of his education had been to enter the ministry. Yet his training and religious experience did not teach him to pray for such menial, daily needs. I can only imagine how foolish, childish, and even uncertain this young man must have felt as he knelt to pray. But pray he did. He asked for God’s provision in his hopeless situation. And God endorsed the action almost immediately, proving that, yes, He does care for every single detail of every single day, down to every morsel we eat.
That, my friends, was George Mueller’s truly heroic moment. Every prayer he prayed over the orphans began in that moment. Every step of faith, every act of trust, and every sermon on reliance was birthed in that one act. His heroic life began when he tried something insanely simple in a quiet moment of need.
Years later, Mueller longed to communicate God’s care for every tiny detail of our lives to the skeptical members of his congregation. The only way he knew to share the truth with them was to live it out before them. Yes, he did ache over the streets full of orphans, but they were only a part of his motivation for opening an orphanage. The rest of the motivation came from wanting his fellow believers to see that they could be heroes too by simply relying on God for every detail and in every moment.
Our greatest heroes of the faith never begin their heroism with the great and mighty for which they are remembered. The great and mighty comes because of some little bitty, obscure step of obedience that boosts their faith in amazing ways.
Do you look at your mundane, ordinary, daily life and think that you could never be a hero of the faith? I’m sure George Mueller thought the same. Yet thousands upon thousands of lives were saved because of the seed planted in one uncertain prayer; one act of obedience.
Ordinary mundane obedience creates heroes of the faith. Will you be a hero?