"Now in your case, with all the many millions of idolaters around you, the temptation is, to be overpowered by the immense quantity of work to be done, to the not minding sufficiently your own souls. But this would only lead to loss. No amount of work can make up for the neglect of meditation in the Holy Scriptures and for the neglect of prayer."
… And the point to which as an older brother allow me to draw your attention is this: For the first 3 years that I preached, I saw scarcely any fruit resulting from my labors, but when 4 years, 3 months since it pleased God to bring me into such a state, that I was willing to be content to be only the instrument provided any good was done, and was willing to give to God all the glory if any good was accomplished, it pleased Him to allow me at once to see fruit, yea much fruit resulting from my labours.
This then beloved in the Lord is what we have to aim after: the lowly mind. The true and faithful servant seeks the Master's honour, not his own. So should we, to the utmost regarding our service for the Lord Jesus. Just in the measure as we are not willing in our inmost soul to give all the honour to the Lord Jesus, so in proportion are we unfit practically to be used by the Lord. He will not use us, lest if He did we should rob Him of His honour.
Further, I have in my own experience found it of the utmost moment to make the care about my own soul the chief business of my life. Abundant as my work is, so much so, that if I had strength to work 24 hours every day, I would not accomplish what is ready for my hands, and feet and head, and heart; yet with all this I consider my first business to be, and my primary business, day by day, to get blessing for my own soul, food for my own soul, to be happy in the Lord; and then to work, and to work with all diligence. Now in your case, with all the many millions of idolaters around you, the temptation is, to be overpowered by the immense quantity of work to be done, to the not minding sufficiently your own souls. But this would only lead to loss. No amount of work can make up for the neglect of meditation in the Holy Scriptures and for the neglect of prayer. Moreover it is not the amount of work we do, at which our Heavenly Father looks, but the Spirit in which we do His work.
Now, this right state of heart, which we need for this, we can only enjoy by seeking to feed our own soul through meditation on the Holy Scriptures. We should therefore habitually and prayerfully as much as possible in the early part of the day, read with meditation the Holy Scriptures and seek with reference to our own individual necessities to enter into what we read. There is great temptation for preachers of the Gospel to read the Holy Scriptures with reference to others, to the neglect of their own souls; this is greatly to be guarded against for if we read the Scriptures not with reference to our own souls, primarily we shall lose the blessing, which God meant to convey thereby to our hearts.
I send by this mail and with this letter a cheque to all the dear brethren and sisters connected with the CIM (China Inland Mission), as a token of loving interest in their service, to whom I have not sent anything before; in order that I may thus manifest interest in the service of all and some love in the Lord to all.
It will give me pleasure to hear from time to time from all of you though I may be able to write but little. I also send to those of you who have not yet had it, a copy of my last Report the reading therefore may be a little encouragement to you, and I will also send 12 copies more of my Narrative, one for each of those of you, who have not yet had a copy.
Beloved brethren and Sisters,
Yours affectionately in our Lord,
(Signed) George Muller
This is an excerpt of the longer letter located in the archives of J. Hudson Taylor and used with permission of the Overland Missionary Fellowship.