2000-02-23 - Testify
John 1:32 (NIV) Then John gave this testimony: I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.
Last night my seven-year-old son Bobby was showing me a new sign language song that he is learning in school. In one part he signs the words for I will testify about the Lord. After he proudly did the song four times, he stopped during the fifth rendering and asked, Dad, what does testify mean? I chuckled to myself at his youthful innocence, but I was very glad that he could admit he was signing and singing a song whose words he did not quite understand.
In my appraisal business, sometimes I am called on to testify about an appraisal that I have performed. This is usually for property settlement cases involving divorces. My first few experiences up on a witness stand were terrifying. The courtroom is unfamiliar territory. Lawyers speak a different language. The cases are very hostile, to reach the point of a trial. So the tensions always run high. I was at the point of turning down all divorce-related business, when a sympathetic elderly judge, sensing my nervousness said, Mr. Massey, just tell what you know, tell the truth and that is all. From that point on, testifying in court has become second nature for me.
The Bible is very clear about our responsibility to testify about our faith when the opportunity is made available. I admit it can be a very difficult conversation to have with a non-believer. It can be more nerve-wracking than sitting in a courtroom, high in the witness stand with lawyers, defendants and plaintiffs seemingly glaring away at you. But just like in a courtroom, I have learned over the years that all I have to do is simply tell my story. I just truthfully tell what I know. That is all John is doing in the verse above. He is simply sharing what he has been a witness to. Paul is telling Timothy to not be ashamed to testify about Christ. Too often though, we are scared people may laugh at us or think we are nuts. But I have found that there are people in the world who are spiritually famished; they are starving for meaning and purpose in this life. They want to know a better way.
On the flip side, I have friends who become absolutely distraught when people reject them when they try to share the Gospel message. It is so important to remember that not only do you simply tell your story, but also that you are not the change agent. Neither you nor I have the power to change one single human heart; only the Holy Spirit can do that. A crusty old guy said to me once, well I know one thing; there is a God and I am not him. There is a lot of wisdom in that statement. We do our part, then let God do His.
One day Jesus healed a blind man. The Pharisees were investigating this healing by questioning the man and his parents. In the verse below, the blind man gives his final answer.
John 9:25 (NIV) He replied, Whether he is a sinner or not, I dont know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!
Do you see how simple that is? The blind man just told his story -- a simple but profound story: I was blind; now I see. He testified to the facts and let the facts speak for themselves. He did not try to convince anyone or be the judge or the prosecuting attorney; he was merely a witness telling his story. Thats all God wants from us. We should be ready, have a willing heart and never be ashamed of the One who has made us see. The last thing God needs is secret agents. He needs witnesses.
Father, place hurting, lost people in our paths today. Give us Your strength, wisdom and courage to simply tell what we know. Help us to live our lives so that others around us want what we have in You. Forgive us when we fail to step through the doors that people open for us, doors that could lead people to You. In Christs name. Amen.