One time my family was on vacation and we were traveling by train. I remember walking through the station hurriedly, which is the only way we Hayden’s walk when we’re on vacation. Just like airports, many of the larger train stations have little news shops that have candy and all the latest magazines. As we passed by one of these shops I remember watching a guy grab some candy and shove it into his jacket. The man then quickly walked away. I was astonished. I’d never seen a crime like that in my life. I didn’t know what to do but to this day I can remember that event. I was witness to a crime.
As I was reading my Bible the other day i stumbled upon the word witness. Of course, I have read it many times in many different context but this time it seemed to hit me a little different. I think I’ve always disconnected being a “Christian witness” from the idea of being a witness in something like a crime. I think we’ve turned the word “witness” into Christianese and thus neutered it’s meaning.
Most of us, having witnessed a crime, would report it right away. We’d tell our friends and relatives what we’d saw. Heck, we might even post a video on YouTube or call the local news. Would we feel ashamed to say what we say? No! We were witnesses to an act and we’d just report what we saw and the feelings we associated with it.
So as Christians we know that the God of the universe gave his son as payment for our sins and what do we do. We keep it to ourselves. That might be an over generalization so let me elaborate. We don’t keep it a secret but very often we just repeat the phrases. We post Christian meme’s on Facebook or quote Bible versus to make people feel better. But is that really witnessing?
Isn’t witnessing telling the story of what has happened to us? Shouldn’t we be reporting the facts about the events in our life that God has shown himself in? Each day can’t we be telling the story of, not what God did for others, but what he’s doing for us each day?
I’m not sure God has called each of us to be preachers, I certainly don’t have that spiritual gift, but I’m pretty sure we can each be witnesses. Because being a witness is just about reporting the story of our lives. If those around us don’t see how God is working in our lives why would the expect that he’d work in theirs?
If you’re a witness to a crime you may very well be called to testify in court. They lawyers may ask you what you saw, who was there, what the results of the event were, and how you felt about it. Well, pretend that each day you’ve been put on the stand and asked, “What is Jesus doing in your life?” Would you plead the fifth? I sure hope not! We’ve been witness to the most amazing event in human history. We’ve witnessed forgiveness given by the Lord of all creation. You would think we’d be like those crazy people who see UFO’s and screaming to anyone who would listen to us!
Maybe it’s time we stepped up our witnessing game.