Apr. 27, 2012
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Jesus loves a good witness. This isn’t the first time he speaks to the disciples being witnesses. As Jesus’ words in Luke’s gospel are wrapping up, his last words speak of them sharing with others what they have seen, heard and experienced.
According to Jesus, what would make a good witness? Must a good witness stand on a street and hand out tracks about Jesus? Must we go door-to-door and speak of our faith? Must we try to answer someone’s faith questions as they spill their guts?
I’m not sure this is what quantifies as a “good” witness. I believe actions speak louder than words. It’s not so much about the words I say that describe my personal faith. It really is more about how I conduct, act, and speak to others and whether or not my faith is lived daily and hourly in my life.
Recently, I met with a couple in preparation for their child’s baptism. As we reviewed the baptismal vows, the dad asked me, “How do we raise our kid so he will know about God?” What an important and wonderful question! I encouraged them to think of Christian faith development beginning in the home. Yes, it is important for children to be part of a faith community where they can participate in worship and Christian education. Yet, the basis still comes from the home environment. Its how parents act, talk, prioritize, and practice their faith that becomes the most important example and witness to children.
As grandparents, Rick and I often discuss how our actions and witness is important. Two of our grandsons were at the dinner table with us. One started to eat. The older grandson told the younger grandson to wait because “we always pray at Grandpa and Dianne’s house.”
I remember the first time I took these same boys to Midland the first time. They now realized what my job is. One of the boys stood behind the pulpit and asked, “You are the one who talks from back here?” Yes, I am. When staying at our house, they love to go to “Dianne’s church.” It warms Rick and my hearts when they ask early in our time with them if we’re going to go to church on Sunday. They expect us to worship together.
Yes, it is wonderful we worship together when possible. But our Christian witness also extends to the words we say in front of them, how we treat them and each other, the moral lessons we are able to express and discuss together through normal events that happen.
Sometimes it is actually easier for non-pastors to witness their faith with nominal or non-believers. People expect me to witness my faith because of my occupation. They expect me to have all the answers, even though I don’t. Non-pastors have relationships with people I do not and might never have access to. It’s not just about what you say about your faith. It’s about how you conduct your life, speak of others, the choices you make and the priorities you make and keep.
I think this is what Jesus expects from a good witness. And so, off we go to be witnesses this day. May we take the last of Jesus’ words to heart and continue His work.
Let us pray: I love to tell the story of unseen things above. Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story because I know ‘tis true. It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. I love to tell the story! ‘Twill be my theme in glory. To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love. Amen.