Before entering full-time ministry, I worked in the insurance and investment industry. My work required me to make home visits and one of my favorite things was to visit my older members. I’ve always been a history buff and I enjoyed asking them about the past.
Some of these stories were amazing, like the one told by a man we’ll call Mel. He had lived in the same small town all his life and witnessed its very beginnings. Well into his nineties, he relayed to me the story of when he was with his father on a buggy watching them put the railroad in. He told me of the severe storms he had survived and the town celebrations they would have with each new opportunity.
I was captivated by his stories and encouraged him to write them down for future generations to see. I even provided him a kit to help him. He had a beautiful testimony to share and one that needed to be preserved.
We all have our own testimony to share. We have unique experiences that have included both victories and failures and these stories of our past can be used in positive ways to teach, encourage, and guide. Each testimony has the potential to change lives.
Of course, the greatest testimony for many people is the story that God has given them. It’s a story of trials overcome and burdens released. It’s a testimony of faith and love but also one of mistakes made and forgiveness sought.
The difficulty many of us have comes in sharing this testimony. It’s deeply personal, and telling others comes with the possibility that they simply won’t get it. It may be our most important ministry tool, but we hide it away for fear of rejection.
Paul gave his student Timothy, in 2 Timothy 1:8, some wise advice. He told him, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but sharing in suffering for the Gospel be the power of God.” Being timid in sharing your own testimony is nothing new. Even Timothy needed encouragement to do so.
Yet he was given the advice to tell it boldly and without fear. Timothy’s testimony would become one of his greatest gifts in reaching out to others with the Gospel message, and it could be yours as well.
In Psalm 71:15-18, we read the words of King David, the same king who had been hunted down, threatened and betrayed often in his life. However, his words are not ones of lament here but of rejoicing. His testimony recalls his thankfulness for the acts of his glorious God when all seemed lost. It reads:
“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”
David had a story of faith to tell, and he was eager to do it. Yes, he had hardships but he knew, through it all, his God was with him. That was a testimony that could not be hidden, a story that could not be kept.
Now it’s your time to muster the strength and courage to share your own testimony. It was not given you to keep to yourself, it was given to share. No one has a testimony like yours and each testimony of faith has the power to light the spark of faith in another’s life. “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16). Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me your story so that I might make it a part of mine. Help me to share the testimony of our relationship and forgive me for the many times I have failed to share it out of fear or indifference. Amen.