Friday, December 1, 2006

I, would like to tell you of a lady that love God. Her name is Lottie Moon. Most Southern Baptist have heard the name. Some have made wisecrack along these lines: "Are we ever gonna get that lady paid off? or Haven't we collected enough to send Lottie to the moon yet?"
But how much does the average Southern Baptist know about Lottie Moon? Who was she and what does she have to say to us today?
I believe she still speaks to us by her embodiment of the twelfth chapter of Romans. Her life seems to have taken its cue from this timely part of Scripture. "Lottie opened the Bible to the twelfth chapter of Romans and spoke so convincingly that her hearers would later recall after her death the significant way in which she foreshadowed her life story."
To understand this chapter is to understand the heartbeat of Lottie Moon as well as the nature of missions.
The origin of missions: commitment {v.1}
The expression "a living sacrifice" is set against the backdrop of the Old Testament. Rather than offering dead and useless gifts to God, we should offer to Him our lives in and abiding sacrificial commitment to His will. While the Old Testament worshiper offered an animal, the New Testament worshiper is to offer himself or herself.
Was Lottie Moon a supersaint, quite different from the rest of us? Only in that she offered herself a living sacrifice to God. No doubt as she read Romans 12 that day she found impetus in the phrases describing the commitment called for, such as "by the mercies of God" and "your reasonable service." How did Lottie become such a living sacrifice?
The subject of missions: conversion {vv.2-3}
Only one who has experienced conversion, who has been "transformed by the renewing of {their} minds" becomes active in the work of missions. The reason so few take a living faith into the world is because the world is more alive to them than their faith.
Lottie was not always the saint we suppose her to be. She labeled herself a "devil" and was considered to be a "heretic." After attending a reveal meeting to scoff but returning home to pray all night, she made a profession of faith in Christ.
Miss Moon was in fact a brilliant linguist and her pastor John Broadus called her, "the most educated woman in the South." But her capabilities were instruments toward, not substitutes for, fulfilling God's will as she sought to 'prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." After hearing Broadus preach a missionary sermon in February 1873, she went forward and said, " I have long known that God wanted me in China. A converted individual is needed for mission work, especially in the method by which missions are done.
The method of missions: cooperation {vv.4-8}
The work of the church cannot be done by a few. Paul's "body of Christ" image serves as the blueprint for the church to follow; it was a pattern Lottie Moon knew well.
Miss Moon always insisted that those who wished to support her work do so through the proper denominational channels. Although she preceded the Cooperative Program, she saw its day and rejoiced.
A pollster asked a shopper if he could give his opinion as to the two greatest problems in America at the time. The man snapped back, "I don't know and I don't care." Perhaps he answered correctly and perhaps it is ignorance and apathy that keep Southern Baptists from meeting our date with destiny.
That attitude of apathy eventually broke the spirit of one of the greatest missionaries Southern Baptists can claim.
Lottie Moon died on board a ship headed for America, weighing about 50 pounds because of depression and concern over the staving Chinese people. Her tombstone carries the simple epitaph, "Faithful unto Death."
As we approach the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions, may we each be motivated by the powerful message of Romans 12. May our lives be a "living sacrifice."
I pray that each one have a very Merry Christmas and remember that this is the time to give thanks to Jesus Christ, our Lord!!
With Love in Christ: Your Pastor Jim McGuire