“To know, know, know…is to love, love, love…” Many songs have been sung with this theme (from the Beatles to Dolly Parton). It’s true! If the one you know is worth loving. To know them is to love them.
She was a little lady with a big heart and a huge request. She was only 4 foot 3 inches tall. Her mission vision was to share the gospel with the people of China, 472 million at the time. That was in 1887. Her impassioned request was for believers back home in America to take up an offering at Christmas to send missionaries to China. $3,315 was given.
Since then, over 5 billion dollars have been given! More importantly, 176,795 new believers came to faith in Christ among our missionaries last year.
I’ve heard about Lottie all my life. She was an amazing person. She died on Christmas Eve, 1912. She weighed only 50 pounds. She’d been using her money to buy food for people in China. Starvation helped to end her life.
In a letter to America, she wrote, “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?” (Sept. 15, 1887, Tungchow) When she wrote these words, she had in mind the portion of scripture that says, “… prove…your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:8-9 ESV) This chapter in the New Testament is all about growing in giving.
Meet Miss Bertha
1887 was also the year a future missionary to China was born. Miss Bertha Smith. In 1917 she arrived in China to build on Lottie’s ministry. Miss Bertha saw the great Shantung Revival take place along with several other missionaries. This revival was known for its superordinary focus on being filled with the Holy Spirit and prayer. The Spirit of God empowered her for a fruitful ministry in China, including six months in jail.
In 1977, Miss Bertha (90) was invited to preach at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I was a student then and had an in with Miss Bertha. My mom had spent a couple of years living with her as her assistant. I got to have lunch with Miss Bertha in the Seminary cafeteria!
Knowing Jesus, Lottie, and Miss Bertha, causes me to want to support the sharing of Christ’s gospel worldwide. It especially hits me at Christmas.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news (gospel) of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (ESV)
We can do the same as Lottie. Ask people to give. Write to your church family. Connect the need to the great joy of the Gospel at Christmas. “Born this day…a Savior.” “For God so loved the world that He gave His Son…”
There are hundreds of ways you can tell your church. There are hundreds of ways to connect the knowing dot to the giving and loving dot for international missions. For example:
“Here’s one way you can bring ‘Joy to the World’.”
The gospel of Jesus is about “great joy.” It’s the joy of being reconciled to God
through Christ the Savior rather than being dead to God. Give to the Lottie
Moon Christmas Offering. Give because this joy is “for all the people”
of the world.
Let your church know. Watch them give.