The Generosity of our Testimony

By Craig Borlase | 23 March 2016 | Comments (2)

The generosity of our testimony - a Stewardship blog

Over the last few years I’ve listened to so many people who have powerful testimonies to share. People like Ray, the 95 year old WW2 veteran whose faith was the thing that pulled him through injury, capture and a stint in a German POW camp. Though still plagued by nightmares, Ray is full of gratitude for all God has done.

 

Then there’s Ali, a former Muslim who met God in a vision, then Jesus in a dream and found himself on a terrorist hit list. Life was suddenly harder than he ever imagined it could become. Yet in the midst of losing his social status, his wealth and his prospects—as well as the love and support of his family—he learned to trust God completely. 

 

Dan was a Greco Roman wrestler and the unofficial world champion. He was heading for the Olympics when a foul throw ended his career. As the physical and emotional pain subsided he began to see that God had other plans for him. Though he never got the Olympic medal he had been hoping for, he has become a pastor and leader with an incredible gift for encouraging others.

 

Before she was 22 years old Annahita had fled Iran, seen God bring her month-old baby back from the dead and then endured the horrors of a Turkish prison. Now an ordained minister and evangelist, she’s led hundreds of Muslims to Christ and is one of the most courageous and faith-filled people I’ve met.

 

And me? I’m just another life-long Christian whose testimony has none of this kind of drama or power. The closest I’ve ever come to persecution is an awkward conversation with a slightly tipsy atheist academic at a cheese and wine supper.

 

And yet if I’ve learned anything from sitting with people like Ray, Ali, Dan and Annahita, it is that they all want to share their stories for the same, simple reason: they want to direct people’s attention to God, not themselves.

 

We don’t share our testimonies in order to impress people with the detail of our suffering or endurance. We share them because we want to reveal what God has done in our lives. When we’re telling our testimony we’re not demonstrating our own skill, the way an architect might reveal plans for a building, we’re more like archaeologists, revealing the work of a timeless, gracious, loving Creator.

 

Often it can be a risk. There’s a chance of being misunderstood, of being ridiculed, of listening to yourself in horror as you fumble your words and fail to fully convey what God has done for you in words that a slightly tipsy atheist academic might understand.

 

And that’s OK.

 

Because like all forms of generosity it’s not about us. We don’t give our money, time or talent because we want to be applauded or praised. We share what we have because we were made in the image of a generous, loving God. We give because it’s what we were made to do.

 

Whatever God has done in our lives—no matter how dramatic or seemingly uneventful—there’s always a reason to be thankful like Ray, to trust like Ali, to encourage others like Dan and to take risks like Annahita.

 

If we can learn to tell our stories in ways that encourage others to do the same, to point them to God and reveal just a little of what He might do in their lives, wouldn’t that be something?

 

Five tips for sharing your testimony…

 

  1. Try writing it out first, filling a single page of an exercise book. What detail do you have to lose in order to make your story fit?
  2. Treat it as a conversation, not a lecture. When you’re telling people your story, embrace the interruptions and see where they take you.
  3. It’s not a magic trick or a contract. Just because you’ve told someone your story it doesn’t mean they will—or should—convert on the spot. Leave that bit up to the Holy Spirit.
  4. It’s personal, but don’t take it personally. Don’t worry if people don’t get what you’re saying. Again, you’re not in control of people’s reactions.
  5. As you talk, pray and be open to what God is saying. Be prepared to throw your plans out of the window as He directs.

 


 

Read more like this:

The testimony of Rich Stanton: Generosity Transforms

The 3 Essential Steps to Listening Well

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comments:

Morag Evans

March 23, 2016 8:54 AM
Sharing our stories is so much easier and part of our daily lives. Thanks for this. It's a real encouragement to keep on sharing life.

Mairin Gallagher

March 26, 2016 8:41 AM
Feel so blest to be part of 40 Acts.Its my first year without my mum and i miss her.But i realize the legacy she left me is my Faith. Some of the daily acts i am going to carry on for rest of my life. I save each Act so i can look at them again throughout the Year. Tu .Tu.Tu.

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