In recent months, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® for International Missions has taken on a new significance in our home. My wife and I wrestled for days with how to teach our children about our denomination’s emphasis on international missions.
Through our research, we discovered an audio version of Lottie Moon’s life story. As we learned the amazing story of a woman who gave herself away for God’s glory among the Chinese people, my three-year old daughter Lily Anne expressed concern for the hopeless spiritual condition of people living without Christ in other countries. She even determined that she needed to “give a bunch of money” to send the Gospel to the nations.
My wife responded, “But you don’t have a job! How will you raise the money?” Her solution was to sell Lottie Moon Christmas cookies.
While in China, Lottie Moon experienced prejudice and suspicion from the people she had gone to serve. In order to reach Chinese women and children, Lottie baked her family’s cookie recipe. A simple Google search revealed that her recipe is still widely accessible today. Upon discovering this, my wife and daughter devised a plan to sell cookies shaped like snowmen, trees, crosses, and other symbols of the season for $5 per dozen. We expected to raise between $50 and $100.
However, as orders came in from our fellow church members, our family, and friends, we began to realize that this project had taken on a life of its own. Despite our shamefully low expectations, I was privileged to stand beside Lily as she presented a check to our church for $415.51, the result of baking nearly 50 dozen cookies.
Carry the message
Obviously, I am extremely proud of my daughter. Such awareness of spiritual realities, compassion for others, and willingness to labor for an important cause are commendable, especially for a 3-year-old. I also feel blessed to have a wife who is raising our children to value things that will matter in eternity. I also am overwhelmed by the support and generosity of our church family, who rallied around Lily in this endeavor.
Through this whole experience, however, it has been my Heavenly Father who has astounded me the most. We serve a God who created us for His pleasure, and who desires for His Name to spread to every corner of the globe. Despite our sin, He pursues us with an undeserved, unquenchable love. Furthermore, in an act of unmerited favor, we who were once the objects of God’s rescue mission have now become its agents. As members of God’s family, we now have the privilege of carrying the message of our Father’s forgiveness and grace to a world that desperately needs to hear it.
My daughter’s efforts have made an indelible impact on me and on so many others because they represent this gracious partnership into which God has invited His children. He has promised to take our little offering and, like the boy’s fish dinner, multiply it to the praise of His great Name (Matthew 14:13-21).
For those who take seriously God’s call to carry His gospel to a lost and dying world, the task may seem overwhelming. I invite believers to consider their missions involvement by asking three simple questions:
- Can I pray?
- Can I give?
- Can I go?
Not everyone who desires to further the mission of God can become a lifetime foreign missionary like Lottie Moon. Nevertheless, Lily’s efforts show that everyone can pray, and that even the youngest and the poorest of us can give to God’s mission. Even with the end of the Lottie Moon emphasis, she continues collecting loose change in her “missions jar,” preparing for her next offering.
What would happen if we had such confidence that God would use our feeble efforts? I truly believe that the world would be significantly impacted for God’s glory.
Chaise Herrington is pastor of Big Creek Church, Waynesboro, Mississippi. This story first appeared in The Baptist Record on Jan. 18, 2018.