Dear Emmalee: My prayer for you on your 6th birthdayBy
One of the things that I love about you is your generous spirit. You’re usually quick to share what you have with your family and friends. When some friends were raising money a
few months ago to adopt a child, you gladly gave them a sizeable donation – not only of your own money, but of your brother’s money, too!
When I think of people who are generous, I can’t help but think of Lottie Moon. She was born into a wealthy family in Virginia in 1840. She had the benefit of a fine education, becoming one of the first women in the South to receive a master’s degree. She knew six languages.
With so many advantages, Lottie could easily have chosen to pursue a life of comfort and privilege. But that’s not what happened. The Lord changed her heart when she was 18 years old and implanted in her a missionary zeal that would change the world. At age 32, she departed from the United States for China, the country that would be her home for the rest of her life.
Lottie grew to love her Bible. In it, she wrote, “Words fail to express my love for this holy Book, my gratitude for its author, for his love and goodness. How shall I thank him for it?” She also grew to love the Chinese people deeply. In fact, she decided to abandon the way of life she knew as an American and chose to live as if she were Chinese herself.
She often lived in dirty, uncomfortable conditions as she went about ministering to the Chinese people, faithfully telling them the good news that Jesus Christ saves sinners. Late in her life, the region where she lived was devastated by war and famine. Many people went hungry. Lottie Moon gave of her own resources – and even went without food herself – so that other people could eat. She was so devoted to the Chinese people that by the time she died, she weighed just a little more than 50 pounds.
Lottie Moon’s work in China had eternal benefits. In addition to the people that she led to the Lord herself, she also became a strong advocate for global missions work, encouraging her fellow believers in the United States to follow God’s call to take Christ to the nations, and to be generous with their money in supporting mission endeavors.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lottie Moon’s death. Since then, the Christmas offering named in her honor among Southern Baptist churches has raised $2.8 billion dollars that has been used to tell people all over the world about Jesus.
So, Emmalee, as you celebrate your sixth birthday today, my prayer for you is that you would follow the example that Lottie Moon set. I pray that you will pursue excellence in your school work. I pray that you will love the Bible the way she did. I pray that the grace of God would touch your life the way it did Lottie Moon’s, and that the Lord would grip your heart with a passion for taking the gospel to those who are perishing. And I pray that the generous heart you’ve already demonstrated would only grow in the years ahead, so that through your giving, countless others would be blessed.
Happy birthday, Sweet Pea. I’m grateful for the joy you bring into my life, and I will love you forever.