August Francke (1663 – 1727) was a German preacher and social reformer who established an orphanage and inspired George Muller. One day he had to pay the construction workers but he did not have any money and so he prayed to God for provision. At the end of that day, the paymaster came and asked if he was going to be able to pay his men. The answer was no. Just then a student knocked on the door and reported that someone, who wished to remain anonymous, had brought a pouch with thirty gold talers. He went back into the other room and asked the foreman how much was needed for the payment of the builders. He said, “Thirty talers.” Francke said, “Here they are,” and asked if he needed more. He said, “No.”’ Francke said this incident strengthened his faith and the foreman’s faith and they “recognized so evidently the wonderful hand of God.”

Background Notes

August Francke lived in Halle which is near the city of Leipzig. He was a faithful man of prayer and he had a big vision for the town he lived in. One day he was visiting a talented scientist who was dying. Francke had shown this man a lot of kindness and just before he died the brainy boffin gave Francke a recipe for some medicine. This recipe turned out to be very valuable and brought in thousands of pounds. He used this windfall to bless the city. By a series of quite incredible events he completed a huge building programme which included – a library of over 20,000 books, six schools, an orphanage with 2000 orphans, a home for destitute widows, a hospital, a chemist shop, an academy for pastors, a drop-in centre for strolling beggars, a museum of natural history, a printing house devoted to making Bibles and Christian literature available at a very reasonable price. Just like Nehemiah in the Old Testament, Francke thought deeply about his city. He wasn’t just concerned with church life but everything that could help people to flourish.

Four Ways of Looking at the Story

Materialist faith: “We believe that Francke should have served the money god. With his talent and hard work he could have lived in luxury in the largest house in Halle.”

Relativist faith: “We believe that Francke was following his dreams. Well done!”

Buddhist faith “We believe that Francke was too attached to Halle. He should have left the city and lived on his own in a forest.”

Christian faith: “We believe that Francke was an outstanding disciple of Jesus. He loved his neighbour in a very creative and fruitful way.”

Mark Roques
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Categories: RealityBites

Mark Roques

Mark taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Prior Park College, Bath, for many years. As Director of RealityBites he has developed a rich range of resources for youth workers and teachers. He has spoken at conferences in the UK, Holland, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a lively storyteller and the author of four books, including The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith. His work is focused on storytelling and how this can help us to communicate the Christian faith. He has written many articles for the Baptist Times, RE Today, Youthscape, Direction magazine and the Christian Teachers Journal.


Evan · May 31, 2022 at 8:11 pm

A good example of how to preach through our actions. Great stuff as always, Mark!

Hugh Grear · June 1, 2022 at 8:49 am

Good story, but short! We all need to to find that one golden recipe! However, with the recipe comes the test! How will you use the windfall? Franke used it to serve others, and as a result, not only did he act in a loving way to the community, but he also won ‘hearts and minds’. It has left me wanting more (which is what Mark’s stories always do). Nice one Boss!

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