Lottie Moon: A Woman of Radical Obedience

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Around this time of year, you may hear the name Lottie Moon shared within your churches. You may be familiar with the story and life of Lottie Moon and her work as a missionary in China for almost 40 years. She is considered a pioneer of the faith for Southern Baptists. Lottie was known for the letters she would write back to the United States, often around Christmas time, and she played a crucial role in raising awareness and funds for missions. These letters highlighted the needs and challenges faced by missionaries, inspiring what we now recognize as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Lottie’s dedication and sacrifice for her missionary work left a lasting impact. She never shied away from taking action. Whether it was her action in writing letters back home to ask for help and funding support for foreign missions, or her action in loving and serving the people in China, she was not a woman who sat on the sidelines and waited for things to happen. She took the initiative in her work and mission there.

Lottie chose radical obedience to God.

It would be easy for us to look at Lottie’s life and believe we could never do what she did. While she did do amazing things for the Kingdom of God, she was also just like you and me in a lot of ways. She was an ordinary woman who loved Jesus and wanted the world to know Him. She was simply brave enough to say yes when He called her to action.

I think that is what inspires us about her life. She was willing to go places others would not go for the sake of the Gospel. She was willing to take the next right steps in faith, not knowing sometimes how things would turn out.

There is so much of Lottie’s life we can relate to, starting with her initial call to missions and ministry. Though she would become one of the greatest examples we have of radical obedience to her calling, she didn’t start off with that initial obedience.

Lottie was Considered a Rebel

God did not win Lottie Moon’s love and obedience easily. She rebelled against her Baptist upbringing and wanted nothing to do with religion until an encounter with Jesus at a school prayer meeting changed everything.

Lottie was Obedient

After accepting Christ at the age of 18, Lottie took a series of teaching jobs around the Georgia area, but deep within her heart, she felt God calling her to serve the people of China. At the age of 32, Lottie boarded a ship, and left everything she owned to go and share the Gospel with the people of China. She chose radical obedience to God.

Lottie was Brave

She faced endless persecution throughout her time in China. The Boxer Rebellion was in full force, and Christians faced many hard times. Lottie bravely met with Chinese church leaders to encourage them to continue their work and lead others to Christ. Upon returning home from furlough, Lottie found her home had been bombed.  Instead of fleeing, she stayed and continued her work for the Lord. The Chinese people flocked to her because of her braveness and boldness.

Lottie's commitment to serving others and sharing the Christian faith continues to influence believers today.

Sadly, Lottie Moon died at the age of 72 on December 24, 1912, on a ship coming back to America. She was deathly sick and weighed only around 50 pounds. Lottie spent her last days ministering to the people of China. She was a woman of radical obedience and cared deeply for God’s people.

Lottie’s legacy still lives on today. Her impact is celebrated not only for her contributions to missions in China but also for her role in inspiring ongoing support for international missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Her commitment to serving others and sharing the Christian faith continues to influence believers today.

It’s important that Lottie’s legacy and impact continue on today. Consider the ways you can help continue her impact of supporting foreign missions work. 


Regularly pray for missionaries, their safety, well-being, and for their mission work. Pray for the communities they serve and for the challenges they may face. Pray with intention that missionaries will have open doors to share the love of Christ with the people around them. You can also pray by using the Week of Prayer guide.

Financial Support:

Missionaries often rely on financial support from local churches and individuals to cover living expenses, travel costs, and any expenses related to their ministry work. By supporting missionaries through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, ® you are giving missionaries the opportunity to impact the world for Christ.

Missionary Care Packages:

Sending a care package to a missionary is a wonderful way to support them and their work. There may be certain items that can be challenging for missionaries to obtain in the country they serve in, and including things like their favorite snacks, personal care items, or even small gifts can be a blessing to them. Be sure to check with the missionary for any specific restrictions or recommendations.

Reflect on your own obedience to God:

Lottie remains an example to us in obedience. What does it look like to be radically obedient to God in your own life? Is there somewhere God is calling you to serve?

There are opportunities everywhere for you to serve God and others. What needs do you see around you right now? What things are being brought to your attention as a way for you to serve God right where you are?

As we look at the life of Lottie, may we be inspired and convicted to look at our own lives. Are we influencing people around us in a way that is drawing them closer to Jesus?

Lottie’s life and legacy remain strong reminders to us to be brave and bold in sharing the Gospel. God may or may not call us overseas to serve, but nonetheless, He has a mission field for us. Like Lottie, are you willing to say yes to the assignment and mission God has for you?

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Amanda Martinsen

Amanda Martinsen serves as the Leadership Development Consultant for WMU North Carolina. Amanda is a writer, speaker, certified biblical life coach, and co-host of the Beyond the Moment podcast. She is a former social worker turned ministry consultant with a love for missions and equipping leaders for Kingdom service. She and her husband Brian have three daughters and live in Sanford, NC.

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