Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Promised Lottie Moon Post

What is Lottie Moon? Well, she was a great missionary who exemplified the self-sacrificing attitude that enables missionaries to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now the SBC has given the annual missions offering her name. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is what enables IMB (formerly, The International Mission Board) to send missionaries to spread the Gospel. If you aren't a Southern Baptist, but you are a Christian who understands your personal responsibility to assist in the sending of missionaries, let me assure you that there are dozens of sending agencies that are either associated with other denominations or are interdenominational. You can definitely find one to support.

Last year, IMB didn't receive enough money to do what they do. They couldn't send qualified missionaries to tell people about Jesus. Now, I'm not arguing against God's sovereignty, but we are responsible for how we spend our money. He will reach people without our money, but we will give an account of what we did with the resources He has allowed us to borrow. (The lazy servant couldn't use the success of the other two as an excuse. [Matt. 25:14-30]) We will stand before God and give explanation for how we have used the resources that He gave us. One day, we will have to explain that we traded the salvation of others for the look on our children's faces on Christmas morning.

The national average for Lottie Moon giving was $2 per Southern Baptist church member. That's nothing short of sin.

My kids will wake up to find gifts on Christmas morning, but we're trying to implement a few things to keep our self-serving spending under control and up the amount we give to missions. Here are a few ideas of how you can make giving a family affair.

  • Have a family discussion, and choose to cut something. It may be a tradition, like a lot of lights. ("We think that it would be better for us to shine as a light in the darkness by spending the money we would spend on electricity on missions.") Or, it may be a gift. Make a conscious decision to sacrifice something for the sake of telling people about Jesus.
  • Top your shopping list with Lottie Moon giving. Write down how much you're giving to missions, and keep a tab of how much you're spending on gifts, decorations, and other Christmas celebrations. Keep your giving in perspective to what you're spending on material possessions, and it won't seem like that much.
  • Include a check in your children's (grand children's, or nieces' and nephews') stockings, and leave them with a suggestion that they give it to Lottie Moon. Then leave the decision to them. Remind them what a privilege it is that God allows us to join Him and His servants in reaching the world. That's huge! Our prayers and our giving help Jesus bring salvation to people we will never meet! That is so much cooler than additional stuff.
  • Remember the cross. It seems like a big sacrifice, doesn't it? We want our children to have everything they need and want. We want to hold onto our traditions. We want our independence, and giving up our financial security is difficult. In light of the cross, though, it doesn't seem like that much. How big is our God? Is He worth sacrifice? Can we trust Him to take care of us when we give? He doesn't owe us anything, but Christians owe Him everything! Jesus left His position of God to come to Earth, and that was the easy part! Remember the cross.


Julie said...

Wow Hannah! What an excellent post and what great suggestions. My kids are older now but I wish I had had these when they were your girls age. We will be using a couple of these suggestions to increase our missions offering this month and we will do so in honor of "the Attaway Family" our very own home missionaries! God bless you and your family for all you do for His kingdom. Merry Christmas!

The Byrd's Nest said...

A post written from a beautiful missionary heart. You may not be with me right now but you will be out here one day soon my friend. I feel it when I pray for you! I LOVE all of your suggestions....we will implement some of those too;) Love you and oh yea.....I'll bet you are proud of your team today!!!!! (gasp) we may be playing each other?!?!

Anonymous said...

I found this blog simply by doing a search on "lottie moon." I pastor a small SBC congregation in North/Central Texas, averaging about 180 in Sunday AM worship. This year (2009) our church gave just under $17,000 for Lottie Moon offering, up from $10,000 last year, up from 4,000 in 2007. These represent all time highs for our church. God is stirring in the hearts of our people a great desire to reach the nations and we will not allow ourselves to be limited by our size. God can do what he wishes with us and we're praying as a church to be usable by Him, regardless of this economy. Thanks for your blog post and may God richly bless your family and church. Oh, and good suggestions you make here!