For decades across the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest missions giving effort takes place at Christmas time and is named after the great missionary Lottie Moon, who spent nearly 40 years in China sharing the Good News of Jesus. Lottie would have never dreamed that her name would come to be associated with what takes place annually in our churches and in our hearts, as we are reminded of the 7.7 billion people on this earth — billions of whom have never heard of Jesus and have never been given an opportunity to respond to the Gospel.
Charlotte Diggs Moon was born in Virginia on December 12, 1840. She died Dec. 24, 1912, on her way home to Virginia aboard a ship docked in the harbor of Kobe, Japan. Why would we have an offering for this work every year? Three simple reasons.
First — the explosion of human beings on our planet. Explosion? Absolutely. As the population of our world continues to grow exponentially, just think about that and dramatize it in your own personal experience. Every minute that passes by, over 250 people come to join us by birth on this planet. If you slow down enough today to find a quiet time, count the moments: “One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six…,” all the way to sixty. Think about the fact that in the minute of time you just counted, 250 people were born. The births continue all day/every day, new souls being born who need the privilege of hearing that their Savior has come.
If you sat and watched the clock quickly tick by for one hour, 15,000 new people have arrived. There were people who in our past made it possible for us to hear the Gospel. Our churches are filled with people who have come to know a Jesus who gives them everlasting life and who waits for us to respond to get the message to all those who are now coming along. Would you give sacrificially this Christmas season because of the explosion of all these new people arriving?
Second — the exclamation of Jesus. Repeatedly, Jesus looked to His disciples and pointed them to the harvest and said, “That’s the reason you’re here.” In John 4:35, He said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” If the fields were white when He was here, they are far whiter today for there are many more souls that long to hear of hope and life, a future and a Savior. Repeatedly, Jesus gave us the commission to go. He sent His disciples out, and He sends His disciples out today, and He sends us to engage with the world all the time, everywhere with the Good News. There is no greater opportunity ever to do that than through your prayers for and gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Jesus’ exclamation was that we are to do this unrelentingly, continually, gloriously, until He returns.
Third — the expiration date. You and I need to be a part of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering today because it has an expiration date. Maybe it would be better said that there are two expiration dates. One, the time of this old world. It will not stand forever and the day will come when time and earth will be no more and eternity will be our dwelling place. You wonder how long this old world can stand in the condition it’s in, in the moral corruption that is all around us, in the lack of care and commitment to God. How long?
Even more significant is the expiration date on you and me. The other morning I was fixing my bowl of cereal and went to the fridge and picked up the milk carton and just happened to notice the expiration date: Dec. 5. I quickly checked to see what day it was, thinking that day was the expiration day and sure enough, the calendar said Dec. 5. I went ahead and used the milk but after that I disposed of the little bit that was left in the container. How much of your life is left with opportunities that you can make a difference not only in your world but in the world of millions who need to know Christ who can make a difference in their lives forever? “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” Jesus said (John 10:10).
That is why the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering exists — a glorious opportunity for you and me to be involved and engaged in touching the entire globe for Christ. Give and be blessed.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.