The first thing you may think when you hear about a Christmas Offering is “didn’t we just give in September?” Yes, we did. And you as a church gave sacrificially. We were able to give $4,045 toward that offering. Mary Hill Davis was for Texas Missions. All monies given was dedicated to the mission field within the state of Texas. It went to reach the lost and hurting souls within the Lone Star State. Now we focus on International missions. This is where Lottie Moon enters the picture. But who was Lottie Moon, and why is she the poster child for foreign mission giving?
Who was Lottie Moon?
Our town has something in common with Ms. Moon. We know her as Lottie, but her given name is Charlotte. She was born on December 12, 1840. She was born into a devout Christian family, but she, herself did not begin her relationship with Christ until she turned 18 and attended a revival service. That night she felt the calling of God on her life. She also felt the pull of other countries and their need for Christ.
Lottie finished High School and then attended college and became a teacher. She taught for several years but could not get the thought of missions to other countries out of her mind. Finally, in 1873 she received her opportunity. Her sister was already a missionary in China. She followed her to Tengchow, China. She spent the next 39 years of her life, not only teaching in the girls’ school but also ministering to the women and girls in the interior regions of China. She knew the best way to reach them began with assimilation. She wore the traditional dress, learned the language, and adopted the customs of the region. She especially had a heart for children. And with a batch of cookies, she opened the door to teaching them about Jesus.
The hunger in China grew. More and more people wanted to hear about Jesus, far more than the existing missionaries could handle. Lottie would regularly send letters back to the states urging Baptists in the U.S. to go to China as missionaries or to send assistance. Not only were the Chinese eager to hear the word, but they were also battling illness and famine. Lottie would regularly give out her own food. Illness overtook her in 1912. She was placed on a ship to return to the U.S., but she never made it home. She passed away on the ship. It was Christmas Eve.
Lottie Moon’s life was defined by self-sacrifice. From leaving everything behind for the call of God on her life, to immersing herself into the culture of the people she was sent to minister to, to giving of her own possessions to help others in need. She urged fellow Christians to join her in the cause. Her call goes out even today. This foreign mission’s opportunity exists today in the form of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Through this giving opportunity, we can continue the work she set up, not only in China but across the world. Wherever an International Mission Board missionary serves, your giving goes to support their ministry.
On this 100th anniversary of the start of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, please search your heart for what God would have you give to reach the world for Christ. Your gift transforms lives. 100% of your gift goes to the mission field. There are no administerial costs. This is the season of giving, what better way than to sow into the life of someone who has not heard of the loving Savior we are celebrating.
“Why should we not… do something that will prove that we are really in earnest in claiming to be followers of him who, though he was rich, for our sake became poor?” –Lottie Moon