By Jimmie Sheffield

Arkansas Baptist State Convention

[Perspective] Missions giving during the holidays

By Jimmie Sheffield

Arkansas Baptist State Convention

Christmas is a time of giving. We give gifts to family members, friends, and many others. For some reason, we feel generous during this season.  

As I think about giving gifts, I am reminded that this season provides a wonderful opportunity for giving to missions. As Southern Baptists, we are challenged each year to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) for International Missions.  

Also, as I think about giving gifts, I remember that God gave us the ultimate gift. He gave us His only Son (John 3:16).  He knew that giving this gift would result in death on a cross for His Son. If God can be that generous, why can’t I be generous in giving to missions that will hopefully result in people coming to know Christ as Lord and Savior? 

I also think about scripture that reminds me to be generous in my giving. Proverbs 11:25 (NIV) says: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”  

In addition to the LMCO, our church has other opportunities for giving to mission-type causes each year. We are asked to give goodies to the police officers and firefighters of our city. We were asked to help an inner-city mission that our church supports.  

Also, we get mail from different mission organizations asking for money to support their causes. We try to be sensitive to these opportunities, but we make our primary giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. 

When it comes to mission giving, I need to confess that I am Sothern Baptist through and through. Therefore, I give most of our mission gifts to the LMCO. This does not mean that I think the other mission opportunities are not important. I just believe in our International Mission Board (IMB) ministry. I really want to support our missionaries and their ministries.  

I see the IMB videos, hear missionaries speak, and know individual missionaries. I know the need. I read and hear about their stories. I am convinced that no one else does missions any better than our Southern Baptist missionaries. Thus, we give more to the LMCO than any other mission causes we support. 

After we determine how much to give to the LMCO, then we determine how much we want to give to other causes. Like most Baptists, we are limited in the amount of money we can give to other mission causes. We just must use discernment about how much to give to each cause. 

Giving to missions is a wonderful blessing. I am grateful to God that we can give money to missions, especially in December. I always know that I cannot outgive God, but I can be as generous as possible with what God has given to my wife and me. Even as we give as much as possible, according to our thinking and God’s leadership, I still often feel it is not enough.  

I am very thankful that Southern Baptists have provided a great way to give to missions though our Cooperative Program giving as a church. He has also led us and given us as individuals a way to give generously to missions in December through the LMCO. Praise the Lord!  

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