This past Sunday we looked at John 4 with Jesus and the Woman of Samaria. One of the passages we read was very instrumental in the life of Lottie Moon as God used John 4:35 to call her into Foreign Missions. As we are nearing the Christmas season, and as we will be focusing on the Lottie Moon offering soon, I would like to take some time today to provide some background to her life.
Multiplied millions of dollars have poured into overseas missions under the banner of Lottie Moon, the Southern Baptist whose name is used to promote our denomination’s annual missionary offering. But who was Lottie Moon and what did she do?
Lottie (short for Charlotte) was born in 1840 and grew up in an old Virginia family. Her father’s plantation house, Viewmont, overlooked the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her mother, a staunch Christian, read to her from the Bible, and as a girl Lottie developed a love for Scripture and for missionary biography. Since there was no church nearby, Mrs. Moon conducted services herself every Sunday for family, neighbors, and servants.
Lottie excelled in school and became one of the first Southern women to earn a Master’s Degree, all the while pondering what to do with her life. In the spring of 1873, Lottie, 33, heard a sermon on John 4:35. As the preacher spoke of fields “white unto harvest,” Lottie made up her mind then and there that she would become a missionary to China, and that fall she was on her way. When her ship was caught in a terrific storm and appeared to be sinking, she wrote: As I watched the mad waste of waters, howling as if eager to engulf us, I think I should scarcely have been surprised to see a Divine Form walking upon them, so sweetly I heard in my inmost soul the consoling words, “It is I, be not afraid.”
For forty years, Lottie Moon worked unafraid in North China, serving faithfully amid storms of war, disease, poverty and plague. When, in her early seventies, a terrible famine swept China, she gave her food and her last dollar for famine relief. She grew so frail and undernourished the doctor ordered her home. She died en route on Christmas Eve, 1912.
“I would that I had a thousand lives that I might give them to the women of China,” she said.
She gave her one life, and it has been multiplied a thousandfold.
May God bless the work of our missionaries, and may we all be on mission for God!
- Bro. Dave