September 29, 2016

Romans 12:1 – “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

Lottie Moon was born on December 12, 1840 in Virginia in a family who was part of the Southern aristocracy prior to the Civil War. Following the war, her family’s wealth was 1/40th of its pre-war value. She would die on December 24, 1912 aboard a ship in a Japanese harbor at 72. She had served for 39 years on the mission field, primarily in China.  

Romans 12:1 is a perfect passage from which to draw illustrations from Lottie Moon’s life because she embodied it through her consecrated life. There are four truths to consider from this text. 

1.    Gratitude – Lottie Moon wrote, “I do not believe that any trouble comes upon us unless it is needed, and it seems to me that we ought to be just as thankful for sorrow as for joys.” 
2.    Total Commitment – Romans 12:1 tells us to “present our bodies.” The Lord is asking for all of us. Lottie wrote, “I am trying honestly to do the work that could fill the hands of three or four women, and in addition must do much work that ought to be done by young men . . .” He motto was “all of you all of the time.” In her work, she held nothing back that the lost might hear of the Savior’s great love for them. 
3.    A Sacrificial Life – Romans 12:1 calls for a “living sacrifice.” The consecrated life is both alive and dead at the same time. When sold out to Christ there are times in which we are vibrant, alive, and totally engaged in Christ’s work. Since committing of life to Christ, there are some things that once was thrilling but now I am dead to them.  They are not my life, not my passion. It is now all about Christ and His claim upon our lives. The bible says that such a life is holy and acceptable to God.
4.    Worship – Paul identifies a consecrated life as our “reasonable service” in this passage. Other translations refer to it as “your spiritual service of worship,” or “your spiritual worship.” The point is that a consecrated life is a life that worships. Lottie Moon identifies with this in her statement – “I have a firm conviction that I am immortal until my work is done. I feel my weakness and inability to accomplish anything without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Make special prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that I may be clothed with power from on high by the indwelling of the Spirit in my heart.” She saw her work and being evidence of the outpouring of God’s Spirit in and through her life. Therefore, her work for Him was her act of worship offered to Him. 

Upon her death at age 72, the executor of her estate sold all of her personal property and cleared her back account of $254.  The daughter from a wealthy Southern family did not have enough estate to pay her way back to Virginia. She had given her all to the Lord through her service to the people of China. Twenty years after her death, Chinese women in remote villages would ask, “when will the Heavenly Book visitor come again?”

Following her death, fellow missionaries came in possession of her bible. Written in the flyleaf were words that she wrote that to this day provide encouragement to those who commit themselves to Gospel advance around the world. She wrote, “O, that I could consecrate myself, soul and body, to his service forever; O, that I could give myself up to him, so as never more to attempt to be my own or to have any will or affection improper for those conformed to him.”

Oh, that these words would be the heart cry of every follower of Christ.

(This devotional is based on Chapter Four of Five Who Changed the World by Daniel L. Akin)