CALL TO PRAYER: Anticipating Jesus' coming
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Not long ago, I was reminded again that our view of evangelism is closely tied to our view of eschatology. If we really believe Jesus is coming again soon, it will motivate us to tell as many people as possible about Christ.
The Week of Prayer for International Missions, an annual event planned at Christmas, is designed to remind us of the urgency of the hour. At the moment of Jesus' first coming, few truly expected Messiah to come. But He did. And, oh what a difference He has made in our lives!
But, what about the peoples of the world who have yet to hear of His wondrous deeds?
I fear that we may be in the same condition in respect to Jesus' second coming that Israel was with His first coming. How many Christians "do church" with low expectations, little vibrancy and limited commitment to God's eternal purposes and plans? It seems that few truly live in anticipation that Jesus is coming again. But He is! And it may be much sooner than we think.
It has often been said that people have a giving spirit at Christmas more than any other time. Perhaps that is because we celebrate the greatest gift of all times at Christmas.
Someone once said that John 3:16 is one of the greatest Christmas verses. Though not often thought of in that particular way, it speaks of our God being the great giver: "For God so loved that He gave."
I recently completed our state convention annual meetings travel season. In many of those meetings, I heard our personnel from the International Mission Board give reports. They closed their reports with a call to Southern Baptists to rise to the challenge of our $175 million goal for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. That has been our LMCO goal for six years; last year was the closest we have gotten, giving just over $154 million. This represents less than $10 per Southern Baptist. We can do better than that!
If this year's goal were met, our IMB would be able to take engaging the lost peoples and people groups of the world to a new level. I believe Southern Baptists ought to pray as never before and then give sacrificially, even painfully, this year. The need has never been greater. The opportunity has never been more profound. The hour has never been later.
Several decades ago, my family decided that the most expensive gift we would give at Christmas would be the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Over the years, we have maintained that practice. Will you join me and my family in making this year's Lottie Moon Christmas Offering the biggest ever?
Can we respond to His great gift by giving at this time of year? I pray that we will.