God's Power to Multiply a Simple Gift
I want to share one story that illustrates the way God miraculously multiplies our Kingdom giving. In doing so, my prayer is that God will move your heart to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions which you can do here. Just make sure to choose Lottie Moon International Offering in the Fund box.
Many of you know that I served for seven years as a church planter in Miami, Florida. Before we launched our public services, we had to find a place to meet. We looked everywhere—schools, businesses, restaurants, theaters—and we found that door after door was closed. No one wanted a church to meet in their space. Feeling a little discouraged and really desperate, we just started driving around looking for large buildings. On one of those drives, God providentially placed us in an office with the event manager for a local meeting space.
Past experience had trained me to get pricing and availability before mentioning we were a church so I asked if there was any space large groups could use. “What are you trying to do?” he asked. “Well,” I replied, “We need to meet once a week with a group of 100 or so people.” “And what kind of meeting will it be?” he asked. I answered vaguely and avoided the word church as best as I could, “We are going to have a large group meeting with some music and a speaker.” He pressed, “But what is it you’re doing.” After a few back and forth exchanges like those, I reluctantly and sheepishly answered, “We are starting a church.” That’s where the conversation had ended in the past 30+ meetings over the course of almost 6 months of searching for a meeting place. But this conversation continued.
The event manager replied, “What kind of church?” “Oh man,” I thought, “who asks that kind of question?” So, trying to stay as vague as possible until I had pricing details, I said, “A Jesus church.” I thought that might suffice. It didn’t. “What denomination?” he asked. I began to think that he must have it out for a particular type of church so I once again stayed as vague as I could. I replied, “Baptist.” Still not satisfied, he said, “What kind of Baptist?” “Oh man!” I thought, “This must be really bad—there can’t be that many people in the entire city of Miami who even know that there are different kinds of Baptists!”
Finally, I decided to change my approach and demeanor. If this meeting was going down like all the rest of the meetings I’d had in the past 6 months, it was going down with me as a leader confident in what we were there to do. “It’s a Southern Baptist Church. We are starting a Southern Baptist Church, and we’d like to know if you have any space here we might be able to use.” I didn’t have to wait long for his reply, and I could not have been more shocked or overwhelmed at the goodness of God. “I love Southern Baptists,” he said.
What? Who says that? I mean, I’m a proud Southern Baptist, and I do love Southern Baptists, but that sounds like something that would only be heard on a platform at a state or national convention or in a promo video. He continued, “I was raised in the DR (Dominican Republic), and it’s because of Southern Baptist missionaries that my family is Christian. They told my grandmother about Jesus, and she was the first Christian in our family. We have some space you can meet in, and I’ll help you any way I can.” I was stunned.
I’ve often reflected on that moment, and it has occurred to me that decades ago, people who have long since gone home to be with Jesus sat around their dinner tables and prayed about their part in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Perhaps a rice bowl coin bank sat in the middle of that table as they discussed it with one another and the Lord. As they prayed, the Lord moved their heart, and they gave sacrificially. That sacrificial giving provided much needed support for IMB missionaries serving in the DR, and those missionaries, who have perhaps now received their heavenly reward, used what was given efficiently and effectively to advance the gospel. Their gospel witness led to multiple generations of an entire family coming to Christ, and that led to the birth of a new church in Miami, Florida that would go on to reach many people with the gospel. Wow! That’s the power of God to multiply an offering for an eternal ROI.
As your family prays about your part in the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, consider this; with the ever-shrinking world we live in, whose grandmother will IMB missionaries reach in some faraway place that will be an integral part of spreading the gospel in North America long after we are with Jesus? I don’t know, but the beautiful thing is that God knows.