The sound of a help wanted sign being placed in the window of a local business is music to the ears. The economy seems to have found its bottom, and be quietly swimming back to the top of the ocean, bringing much needed relief to families. This will take time. In the meantime, people whose current residence is now a street corner, and even those who have homes with bills stacked to heights that their finances cannot cover, need something right now. They need an encouraging word from you. They need your testimony.
Witnessing, or a testimony, is sharing with someone your story. It is a brief story about what God can do, and what He has done for you.
It is sometimes uncomfortable, because it sometimes forces you to relive the drama; relive that moment.
It doesn’t have to be a bad story though. Testimonies can be stories about God’s blessings of abundance, or a story of His mercy.
Witnessing is not meant to be a “you think you’ve got it bad,” story. Rather, the person doing the listening should walk away encouraged; uplifted.
“Too often, I hear people witness by sharing a bad news story,” said one Christian. “I don’t need to hear someone try and make me feel sorry for them. I don’t want to be down-lifted; I want to be uplifted.
The unplanned witness
Unplanned witnessing is all about opportunity and courage. You overhear a conversation where some man, woman, or child is sharing their struggles. Their words are troubling; their countenance; worse. They are crying out for someone to offer them some sunshine; or a reason to believe.
“The risk is that you look like you are meddling in someone’s business,” said another Christian. “Your kind words can be thrown back into your face. Someone may be offended by you commenting on their private matters. It can be done, but must be done delicately.”
“You don’t have to comment specifically on their issues. You can merely offer to pray for them.
You may tell them that they look a bit distressed. After, you can stand there and listen. If they say: thanks for the kind words, you nod and move on. If they share some of their troubles; then the door is opened. The opportunity is there.”
Tools of the trade
Witnessing is a gift, but it is one that must be fed and cultivated. Just like any other gift, if it is not fed, watered, and given sunlight, it will wilt. There are two essential things that every good witness must have.
The right disposition
The morning begins with a broken alarm clock, or a flat tire. It begins with a disagreement at home, or a tough assignment at work. You are weighted down with problems, and in no mood to listen or to talk. A person in need of a word; the word, walks by. You are so busy listening to your own issues replayed in your mind, that you have no time to listen to anyone else. An opportunity missed.
Too often, people who need us; need our testimony, wander in and out of our lives without us ever knowing that they were there. There is no discussion, because we are not in “witness mode.”
“You cannot witness when angry, or disgusted,” said one Christian. “If you are in the zone, you won’t be able to hear the voice of someone else. You’ll only be able to hear your own voice. This does not mean that we have to be without emotion or fake, but we do need to know what is at stake.”
The right disposition doesn’t help you if you have nothing to share. What is your testimony? What miracle of health, or finances, or relationship did God perform in your life? We are all familiar with the phrase; “have a testimony on your heart,” but what does it mean?
It means that your testimony should be thought about often, and available at a moment’s notice. It should be as readily accessible as a driver’s license.
It also (your testimony) should convey your true feelings about what God has done for you. For some, it may be a sincere smile or shake of the head. For some, it may lead to tears. Whatever feelings your testimony inspires in you should be readily given to your audience. For some in the audience, it may be their introduction to Christ.
The Master’s vineyard is still hiring, even at this late hour. Are you doing any interviews?
Want to talk? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org