Wednesday night we set our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal at $11,000. This is a great, reachable goal that I think will be a challenge for us. Each year we take a few weeks to promote this special offering, of which 100% goes to fund overseas mission work among people who desperately need the gospel of Christ. As we think about this opportunity to give, let me encourage you to walk through these steps as you prepare to give.
1. Be content with what you have.
The underlying foundation of giving is contentment with what we already have. If this foundation is in place, giving will be free and without regret. We can be content because we have Christ, and we know that He will always provide everything we need.
Be content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)
Christ is the secret of our contentment because in Him we have everything we need.
2. Understand what your giving will do.
This offering is strictly for international missions. There are people like you who have families like yours and live similar lives who have never heard about Jesus. Imagine the hopelessness and heaviness of a life with no way out, no salvation, no peace, no forgiveness. When you give to the LMCO, you give the hope of Christ to someone who has never had it.
3. Pray about what God wants you to give.
I only want you to do and give what God would have you do and give. Ask him what you should give. Listen to what he tells you to give. Then give. And watch Him do wonderful, immeasurable things in your life and the life of our church.
4. Be prepared to give sacrificially.
We run a risk whenever we ask God what we should do, especially in the area of giving. What if he tells us a number that we think we can’t do? What if he tells us a number we don’t want to do? What if we can’t have something else because we’re giving that money to missions? These are valid questions that one who is seeking to listen and obey God will have. In the end, however, we know that when God calls us to do anything, He will provide the means to do it. That’s what trust is all about.
5. Let your giving be colored with cheerfulness and thankfulness.
No one likes giving as an obligation or under compulsion. We like to give out of love and with an open-handed spirit. God likes it too.
Each one must do just as he purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)
As you give what God is telling you to sacrificially give, do it with cheer and joy and in a spirit of thankfulness. God loves that.
Everyone who trusts in Christ for salvation will struggle to maintain a constant, fiery faith even though he or she treasures Him as the highest good. This is the case because we are but dust (Ps. 103:14). We find ourselves in need of daily grace and mercy (Lam. 3:22-23). We have within us a war raging between the flesh and spirit (Gal. 5:17). While we confess our love and trust in Christ, we know that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38).
It’s helpful to have the faith of other saints help stoke the oft-dwindling flame of our faith. They have gone before and have fought the good fight; they have finished the race; they have kept the faith. The following is a prayer penned by John Wesley that I pray will put words to your godly desires and throw kindling on your heart’s hearth.
O merciful God,
whatever You may deny me,
do not deny me this love.
Save me from the idolatry of loving the world,
or any of the things of the world.
Let me never love any creature
but for Your sake and in subordination to Your love.
Take full possession of my heart;
raise there Your throne
and command there as You do in heaven.
Being created by You, let me live to You;
being created for You, let me ever act for Your glory;
being redeemed by You, let me render to You what is Yours
and let my spirit ever cleave to You alone.
As you continue in your faith, may your prayer echo Wesley’s, and may you be able to say to Christ, “Take full possession of my heart.”