Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.
Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
— Hebrews 13:7 —
On Christmas Eve in 1912, some eight months after the sinking of the Titanic, there was another loss of titanic proportions. On the other side of the world, on a boat in the harbor of Kobe, Japan Lottie Moon—all 50 pounds of her starving body—breathed her last. She had run her race to the end and finished well!
For forty years, this 4′ 3″ firebrand served as a missionary to the people of China. After growing up in Charlottesville, Virginia and becoming one of the most educated women in the South, this single woman took her teaching gifts to the other side of the world.
At the age of eighteen she was convicted of her sin and trusted in Christ. For twelve years, she taught school throughout the South. But compelled by the need for the gospel in China, Lottie Moon followed her sister Edmonia to become a teacher on the other side of the world.
In a short time, she faced incredible difficulties. Personally, she was forced break an engagement with C. H. Toy, a prominent but every-increasing liberal Hebrew professor. Vocationally, she faced the hostility of a people who despised her and called her a “foreign devil.” And relationally, she saw her own sister succumb to sickness, forcing Edmonia to leave the mission field.
Still, through the difficulties that spanned twenty-years and beyond, she changed her gospel methods, adapted her accustomed dress, and endured in the face of hardship. Becoming a personal evangelist, she stopped teaching school and began to visit homes and villages to share the gospel with anyone who would listen. Employing gifts of hospitality and cookie-making—she became known at the Cookie Lady—she won the hearts of the Chinese and led many to faith in Christ.
While serving faithfully, she became increasingly tired and lonely. In 1887 she wrote home asking for assistance. She both scolded the men in America who refused to come to the mission field and called for churches to give generously to the work of missions. This call for missionary support eventually became a regular plea at Christmas time among churches in the South.
Coordinated with Lottie’s birthday (December 12, 1840), her salvation and baptism (December 1858), her Christmas letter for a missionary offering (December 1887), and her date of death (December 24, 1912), Southern Baptist churches have taken up a missionary offering in December for more than 100 years.
This year, our church is joining in that missionary offering. As we partnered with the SBC this summer to increase our missions footprint and our educational opportunities, not to mention partnerships for ministry locally and globally, we are joining more than 40,000 other churches around the world to take up a Christmas offering that goes directly to the missionaries of the International Mission Board.
These stewards of the gospel are strategically located all over the globe. And on Christmas Eve we are taking up a special missionary offering. As we celebrate the great gift of our Lord’s birth, please consider how the Lord might stir your heart to give to the needs of the gospel through this missionary offering. You can give that night, or online prior to Christmas Eve.
Indeed, as Hebrews 13:7 tells us, we are to remember those who have taught us the word of God and modeled for us such incredible sacrifice. Lottie Moon is one of those who died to serve the people of China. Instead of leaving China, she starved to death with many others during the war-inflicted famine of the early 1900s. At Christmas may we remember her life, imitate her faith, and share the good news of Christ with others both personally and provisionally through this gift.
If you’d like to know more about Lottie Moon, the International Mission Board, or and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering you can check the following links, or talk to me. As I shared with the NextGen Kids last week, I’d love to tell you more about this hero in the faith.
For His Glory and your joy,