The parents named their new baby girl Charlotte Diggs Moon. As she grew up her family and friends didn’t call her Charlotte or Diggs or Moonie, but she simply became Lottie. Lottie Moon. She seemed to be a free-spirited young lady who was not overly serious about life or her studies. I’m sure if we could interview some of her friends from those early days or maybe talk with some of her teachers, we would discover that many, if not all, were shocked when she became a missionary. A missionary headed to the great country of China.
Even now for those of us who did not know her, we’re amazed that for over four decades she loved and taught and cared for the people of China and brought so many of them to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. She did not die in China but was on her way home from China when her life concluded at Kobe, Japan. The truth is that she had left her life, given her all in serving Jesus in China.
While she lived, worked, and ministered in China, her heart also reached out to Baptists across the South and across the land pleading with them, encouraging them, cajoling them to give so that the great work of reaching China for Jesus could be carried out. She was not just a missionary in name, but a missionary in commitment and inspiration and passion to follow Jesus and His will for her life. She was an inspiration to thousands and thousands and had become not just an iconic mission figure but an inspiration to millions who themselves have heard a call from God to go and others who, because of Lottie, have had a personal call to make sure that others can go.
So the greatest mission gift in the entire world has come to bear her name, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. This year the mission giving goal of Southern Baptists is $175,000,000, but many of you know because of the shortfalls in giving both to the Cooperative Program and to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, hundreds of missionaries are having to come home due to the lack of funding.
During her life, Lottie would often write home to ladies in the churches asking them to encourage the church to give so that others could join in the missionary work. She would write to pastors and leaders pleading with them to help. She repeatedly turned down opportunities to come home simply because there was no one to take her place and she would not leave a vacant gap in the mission work. Though she has long since gone on to be with the Lord, it could be said of her today that she being dead yet speaketh.
Because of the downturn in the economy and more and more churches giving less through the Cooperative Program, and for many not giving to the mission effort through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, hundreds of our missionaries are having to be brought back to their home base. Many who were hoping to stay on the field and stay in place serving the Lord and reaching people for Jesus have had to face the awkward decision of taking early retirement and coming back home.
I think if Lottie could speak to Southern Baptists today she would give an impassioned plea to do more than you’ve ever done, to pray and ask God to help you understand what He wants you to do in supporting the mission of Christ around the world. It is not time for us to stop, drop, or run. It’s time for us to step up and say, “Lord, what would you have me to do?”
You and I can this year be a part of the greatest mission giving experience in the history of mankind. We can make a difference. We can see to it that those missionaries who are waiting are finally able to go. We can help put some of the missionaries back in place that may have had to come home because of a shortfall of finances but could be reassigned to go because of the generosity and committed sacrifice of Southern Baptists. You can do your part and then encourage others to join in and help you. Lottie lived, loved, and gave, and so can we.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.