Growing up in a church-going Christian family, I had the privilege of hearing many wonderful stories of people who have had their lives turned around by the saving grace of God. People who turned away from drugs, violence, gangs – all manner of evils. Similarly, I’ve been blessed and inspired by many ‘heros’ of the faith – women and men who have risked it all to take the powerful message of Jesus to people all over the world, even in the face of danger and death.
Probably the worst I’ve ever copped for being a Christian was being called a ‘churchie;, or people giving me their frank and honest opinion on faith, organised religion or their ideas on God. Hardly persecution!
For many ‘Western’ Christians (myself included), it is easy to be two things. Firstly, too comfortable (even caviller) in our faith. The second, there’s a risk to see these great stories of lives turned around, or being bold in the faith as the ‘golden standard’ for living your life. The risk is that a boring, suburban life kind of isn’t cutting it, and that this kind of testimony isn’t as powerful.
I want to say that I truly believe every Christian has a ‘mission field’. It could be overseas, it could be in your own country. None of us are called to ‘hide our light under a bushel’, so I don’t want this to sound like an excuse for sitting on your hands and being a ‘Sunday Christian’. What I’m saying is, for me, certainly in the past, I never really thought my testimony would cut it compared to some of the ‘guts and glory’ ones I heard from the pulpit.
I’ve been blessed to meet people, as I’ve grown, who don’t have a whizz-bang testimony. Men and women who have not gone out and changed the world, who never had a life of vice and crime, who have never influenced thousands towards Jesus. These people, however, have made a profound difference in my life, and the life of those around them. People that have been Jesus to their colleagues, their neighbours, the guys at the pub, the mums at the school drop off, the homeless guy they see on the way to work.
People that faithfully, consistently and lovingly apply their lives to reading the scriptures, praying, practicing being Jesus to the ‘ones’ around them. Loving their family, being dedicated to their spouses and children, being faithful in their employment. These are the people that most inspire me.
People, that, who on the outside are quite unremarkable, but to me, have shown Jesus to me more than any big-name preacher or crime-to-Christ could ever do.
In everyone’s life, there will be times and seasons to be bold. To step out in faith, to take a risk, to put yourself out there. I know I should do it more – much more. What I’m saying, however, is that I’m most inspired, most impressed when I meet men and women that are faithfully committed in the small things, and who are Jesus to the ‘ones’.
Just because your testimony doesn’t include preaching to the masses, turning your life around from crime, from doing amazing work for God, it does not mean your testimony is any less worthy or special. It takes guts to represent Jesus in your family, your work, your community group, even your church. It takes guts to share the good news – even when you’re not facing harsh persecution. It takes commitment, strength and character to read the Word everyday, pray for your loved ones and your enemies and cloak yourself in humility everyday.
So to those fine men and women out there with a boring testimony, I want to honour you. I want to honour faithfulness, your love and your compassion. The difference you make in the ‘ones’ is immeasurable, and I thank you for it.