MISSIONS: Give your money to His vision

EDITOR'S NOTE: Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, adds his voice to this year's prayer emphasis for international missions in the Southern Baptist Convention, under the theme "One Sacred Effort -- Find your place in God's story." The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches support approximately 4,800 international missionaries in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at imb.org/offering, where there are resources to promote the offering. For resources in Spanish, click here. This year's goal is $175 million.

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Some of us would describe ourselves as "Baptist to the bone." Not having been born into such a family, I was determined after marriage to help my young family become so.

During my childhood my parents had moved the family to Greensboro, N. C., and had been blessed to have a neighboring family visit and invite us to church. We children were invited to Vacation Bible School and Sunday School. It was there that I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was there that I began realizing the intense missionary and evangelistic passion of Southern Baptists.

God saved me and called me into the ministry. Having been reached for the Lord by Southern Baptists, when I became a father I wanted my girls to come to appreciate the "missions heart" of Southern Baptists.

I wanted my girls to learn to love the local church. They quickly became aware that we would always be in church, even when on vacation. We tried to be very positive about the local church and we praised God. To this day, my girls actively participate in and truly love the local church.

We began to learn to support missions by prioritizing the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We decided -- maybe this was more of a parent's decision! -- that our largest Christmas gift would be to international missions. We wanted our girls to know what mattered most. I did not skimp on my girls, and I certainly was not going to skimp on missions.

What matters most to you? Some people say that we really vote our convictions with our pocketbooks. Having been a pastor for over 30 years, I assure you that I have seen that to be true.

Some also say that money follows vision. I have found that to be true as well. Is there any greater vision than that given before our Lord Jesus ascended unto the Father in Acts 1:8? "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you," our Father said, "and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Does our money follow this vision? Have we voted with our pocketbooks to support that vision? I am convinced that we need to give first-rate loyalty to this first-rate cause. Will you join me in supporting this Lottie Moon Christmas Offering even more than you did last year?

Last year, Southern Baptists gave a record amount. It is time to keep up that forward momentum.

Frank S. Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
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