I write this post to Southern Baptists, but I plead with all believers to read it. For Southern Baptists, this week is our Week of Prayer for the International Mission Board’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering – an offering that goes entirely to our missionaries and contributes 58 percent of the IMB’s total budget. In fact, I’ve written previously to provide some simple ideas for giving to this offering.
This year, the goal for this offering is $175 million dollars.
That’s about $29 dollars for each of the generally 6 million Southern Baptists in attendance on a given Sunday. That’s the equivalent of 3-4 meals at the local fast food restaurant. That’s not much for many of us.
All of us know that the IMB is now in significant transition. Many of us have friends or family members who’ve chosen to take voluntary retirement this year, and we both grieve and rejoice with them as they take this next step of faith. They, too, are living in transition, and they will do so like IMB’ers most often do – with grace and faith, fighting to keep their eyes on lostness wherever God plants them.
Much change is in the air. What’s not changed, though, is the necessity for every person in the world to hear the gospel. What’s not changed is that most of us have more Bibles than people in our homes, but billions of people in the world still have no access to the gospel. What remains the same is that we have an opportunity to give sacrificially so somebody might have the privilege you and I have had to hear the Good News of Jesus.
No mission organization is perfect, and IMB leadership would readily admit room for improvement. At the same time, our personnel continue to strive to make a dent in a world of darkness. They warrant our prayer backing and our financial support.
I write to give believers a three-fold challenge:
- Read Romans 10:9-17 today, and focus on our responsibility to get the gospel to the nations. The questions are basic: “How can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” That’s just simple Bible – we need to help send the proclaimers.
- Make time to pray for our missionaries and the Lottie Moon offering. Read the stories of the missionaries featured this week of prayer, and lift their ministries before the Father. It’s tough not to give more when you know what our folks are doing.
- Prayerfully give until you really sacrifice. Giving out of our abundance sometimes requires little sacrifice. Giving for the work of the One who sacrificed His life for us, though, ought to cost us something. Whatever we give won’t compare to what He did for us.
God’s people give so God’s people can go so others might become the people of God. Some things don’t change.