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It would not be shocking at all if every one of us could think of one
lady who has made a difference in our lives. She may be called Mom. It
could have been a teacher or possibly a wife. For some, she could have
been the Sunday School worker. For others she may have been a doctor, a
nurse, a coach or a friend. The Bible is filled with ladies who made a
difference in their world and certainly in the Kingdom of God. You are
aware of most of their names and some of their incredible stories of grace,
faith and leadership. There are women like Jochebed, Miriam, Deborah,
Vashti, Esther, Ruth, Elizabeth, Lois, Eunice, and, of course, Mary the
mother of our Lord Jesus. Probably, I should say, in a larger sense,
the Mary’s that are sprinkled throughout the New Testament who joined
this long line of great women who have made a difference in the work of
the Kingdom of God that will last for eternity.
This time of the year all across the Southern Baptist Convention, our attention
turns to a world in need of Jesus and our call to be involved in missions
that will carry this message to every corner of our world. Our focus on the
world today is sharpened because of the work, commitment, and sacrificial
love exhibited by one woman over 100 years ago. The Lottie Moon Christmas
Offering for International Missions is the largest, single mission effort to
tell the world about Jesus by evangelicals every year.
This year the goal is $175 million. Your immediate response may be something
like, “Well, what I am able to give really will not make any difference at
all.” If so, you would be very wrong. I think of one young lady who almost
150 years ago was struggling with her call from God to go and be a missionary.
How could that be possible and how could her one life make any difference in
a world of so many then and even more now? Yet, that young woman whose name
was actually Charlotte Diggs Moon said, “Lord, I will go!”
For 40 years she served and shared the saving power of Jesus. The challenges
would be many and the sacrifices would be even more, but the harvest would be
great and the impact of her love and care would challenge each of us to this
very day. One lady makes a difference. Does one person make a difference today?
Absolutely! As with Lottie, it makes a difference in the person’s life who is
obedient to the Lord. When that takes place it makes a difference in an ever
growing circle of friends and influence that are affected by that dedication.
At the time, Lottie Moon was only one of a handful of missionaries who Baptists
were sending to places around the world. Today there are almost 5,000 missionaries
that God has called, gifted, and sent out from our Baptist family. You and I have
the privilege of being the support mechanism so that they can go and serve and to
help those who are waiting now to go to join this ever increasing voice of God’s
people telling the world about Jesus. Lottie would write often to friends and family
at home to explain the work that she was doing and the great need that was there in
China. She would very directly ask them to do several things.
If she were alive and serving today, she would no doubt do the same thing and say to
you and to me above all, please pray. Pray for the missionaries. Pray for those who
are being told the story of Jesus for the first time. Pray that their hearts will be
receptive. Pray that the power of God will touch them and that their understanding
will be clear of how much Jesus loved them and came and died for their sins. Pray that
this great work of God that we have the privilege of being a part of will continue to
expand so that there will not be a place, a people group, or a person who does not
have the opportunity to hear of the saving name of Jesus.
Secondly, Lottie would often encourage believers to be a part of the mission effort.
In her day, the light of the Gospel was desperately needed in a dark world. Today
the need is even greater. What can you do to honor Jesus and to bless a world that
is in need of His saving power? You can give and it will be used directly to carry
out His mission. Sometimes we look at a goal whether it is in our church or the national
goal, and we somewhat give for the goal. While that may be fine, a greater goal is to
give because we have been given. Do not give to reach a goal but give to reach a world
that is in need of Jesus.
One other thing that Lottie Moon often encouraged others to do is related to the personal
call that may come to an individual’s life from the Lord to do what He wants us to do.
Maybe He is calling you and your family to the mission field. The Lord is not just calling
other people. He may be calling you. If He is, today is the day to answer Him and say,
“Yes, Lord.” One lady makes a difference, and you and I can be difference makers also.