Niagara Falls is more than water drops, but it isn’t less. And global missions is more than you and I, but it isn’t less. When we all work together our cooperation enables what happens downstream in global missions.
Wave after wave rushes over the brink of Niagara with the thunder of a river falling, and all that water comes from somewhere. It comes from farther upstream and farther still, from raindrops and small streams. Even Niagara can’t run on its own. Even Niagara needs water.
And even global missions needs you and me. During Lottie Moon Christmas Offering season we talk a lot about our Southern Baptist missionaries and their work—and we should. I just spent two years overseas with them and in my short time I saw our brothers and sisters faithfully sharing the gospel from Spain to Ethiopia in the face of serious challenges. I’ve spent some time downstream in global missions, and I have seen young families and 20-something singles and retirees struggling to learn a new language, to find where the grocery store is, to make friends—and all this while searching constantly for opportunities to share Jesus.
This Christmas season your church might play a video or hand out brochures from the International Mission Board, filled with colorful stories about how God used this person to plant a church in a hard place or how he used that person to lead someone to Jesus. But mud huts and megacities are pretty foreign to most of us in places like Tyler and Toyah, and the edge of Niagara can feel very far away indeed. And yet even Niagara needs water.
You and I from all the way over here in Texas fit into God’s good plan for global missions the same way all the waters above Niagara fit into all the waters at Niagara. We are a part of global missions by nature and by action.
When you give to Lottie Moon, if you want to picture the kind of people that your money goes to, the kind of people who are missionaries, you might start by looking around your church on Sunday morning and picking someone who is fun to be around and who loves Jesus. Missionaries might be superheroes, but probably not in the way we normally think of them. They’re often very normal folks whom God in his planning just decided to relocate overseas. It turns out that healthy missionaries look an awful lot like healthy church members. We are a part of global missions by nature because the stuff at the edge of the falls is the same stuff upstream, water—it’s just in a different place.
And we’re a part of global missions by action because when we decide to give to Lottie Moon and to pray for our missionaries—and when we don’t—we’re really affecting what happens downstream with all the crashing waters and blowing mists. What we do upstream changes what happens at the edge of the falls. God in his good plan has set up global missions so individuals and churches can take part, not just way downstream in distant and exotic places, but even right here at home. When you give, 100 percent of your Lottie Moon dollars goes to our missionaries. Praying and giving are just two ways that right now, today, before you go to bed tonight, you can join God’s good plan for global missions.
You and I are upstream from global missions, and it doesn’t matter if you’re from a little lake or a rushing river—all the water in a waterfall comes from somewhere. You might be from a big city or a farm, in a church with 50 people or a church with 50 staff. It doesn’t really matter where we’re at or where we’re from, because God’s design is for all of us to join him in global missions.
You can learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and give online at: www.imb.org/lmco