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FIRST-PERSON: Give at least $303.33 to Lottie

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)-The highest-paid player in the NFL makes $20.6 million a year — defensive end Michael Strahan of the New York Giants who pulls down the big bucks for sacking quarterbacks.

It’s gotten me to thinking about the kind of money it takes to field missionaries. Can you imagine flipping on your TV this weekend and hearing this:

“It looks like Moondog Murphey is coming out on the field,” says Bucky Broadcaster. “Most fans will remember Moondog as the veteran missionary in Bogota.”

“That’s right, Bucky,” adds Clyde Colorman. “Drafted out of Southwestern Seminary, Moondog has a career total of 33 church plants, and over the past seven seasons he’s averaged 100 receptions for Christ. With stats like that, it’s no wonder he’s the best-paid player in the missionary league! $20.6 million dollars for this year alone!”

You and I both know that missionaries are worth far MORE than $20.6 million a year, and that what they do is unquestionably more significant than playing football. They faithfully stay on mission, day in and day out, sacrificially giving their lives for the cause of Christ.

I’ve wondered what you could do with $20.6 million if you poured it all into missions, instead of an MVP defensive end. So I asked my friends at the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board that very question and here’s what you could do:

— pay the yearly salary for 1,546 new single missionaries.

— provide 2,060,000 radios so Christian broadcasts could be received in China, or send 8,240,000 copies of “Experiencing God.”

— fund the equipment needed to show the “JESUS” film in rural India simultaneously in 4,120 villages.

— minister to the Kalanga people of Botswana for 412 years.

— train 412,000 Brazilian lay evangelists and church planters.

— pay for the airfare needed to get 20,600 new missionaries to the field.

— keep a 10-year stream of ministry items moving into the hands of 206 church planters among unreached people groups of South Africa.

— pay for everything needed to set up 10 organizations to help missionaries enter and minister among — for more than 20 years — 10 unreached people groups in Asia.

Reading this list, I wish I had $20.6 million to give to the International Mission Board. I don’t, and I suspect you don’t either, but we can combine our giving and easily exceed that total. That’s what the Cooperative Program is all about, and that’s also the intent of the yearly Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

Here’s a thought for this year’s Lottie Moon offering: Give a minimum of $303.33.

I didn’t pull that figure out of thin air; it represents the average cost for a family of four to go to a single National Football League game.

According to ESPN, your $303.33 covers four average-priced tickets, two small beers (ESPN’s idea, not mine), four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, two game programs, two adult-size caps and parking. This is why, as much as I love football, I stay at home and watch the game on the tube.

My point is this: If some families are willing to spend that much simply to watch a single game, is it asking too much that we give a similar amount toward missions work that has eternal significance?

You may be able to give more, so please do, but if every Southern Baptist household would give a minimum of $303.33 to Lottie Moon, we’d easily eclipse the NFL’s top salary of $20.6 million on our way to reaching this year’s goal of $150 million.

Consider this: Why not have your church sponsor a Lottie Moon Missionary Bowl. It’s a pretty simple idea. You provide the hot dogs, soft drinks and wide-screen TV for a designated NFL weekend double-header and ask people to donate what they can — maybe $303.33 — to the Lottie Moon offering.

It’s fun; it’s fellowship, but best of all, your money goes to support 5,510 missionaries working among 1,497 people groups. That’s a team we can all applaud as they take the field for Christ. Come sit next to me in the stands as we cheer on the missionaries of the International Mission Board.
Jon Walker is director of content for pastors.com. For more information about the Lottie Moon offering, run a post pattern to http://ime.imb.org/LottieMoon/default.asp.

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  • Jon Walker