“I have the firm conviction that I am immortal till my work is done.” These arresting words were spoken by Lottie Moon, missionary to China, 100 years ago. They call to mind the fundamental faith question that we almost never consider. Most of us accept the fact of our salvation without ever asking, “WHY?”
Advent begins the cycle of the church year where we remind ourselves of the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord. We remember how our Lord emptied himself of His Godhead and became one of us, born of a woman. We rejoice in the life we now share with Him. But we must also ask ourselves, why we have been saved. We need to ask, what is the goal of our salvation?
Lottie Moon was reared in an aristocratic Virginian family during the Civil War. The highly cultured and educated Southern Bellemare, an unlikely missionary candidate. Her decision to become a missionary following college and graduate school was not easy.
In China, she served as a school teacher, but soon felt this traditional woman’s role limited her evangelistic gifts. At the age of 44, she bucked the chauvinist limitations placed on women and started her own mission. The work was difficult and discouraging, but she felt the joy of being in harmony with God’s plan for her life.
When famine hit her province, she emptied her own bank account, and worked to raise money in the United States. But the response was not great and hers was the small light in a vast darkness. She lapsed into depression and died on Christmas Eve 1912, at the age of 72. But her legacy lives on. Southern Baptists annually raise millions of mission dollars through the “Lottie Moon Christmas offering.”
We are blessed to be a blessing. The goal of the Gospel is written in service. In the words of Lottie Moon, we are “immortal” until our work is done. Because a candle can light others only when it consumes itself. Spare yourself and your light will go out.