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.