I get paid, primarily, to talk. My words are meant to be used to inspire, teach and encourage. I have also found passion in writing. Blogs, articles, even a book. (Maybe more, who knows.). But can we be real for a minute? Words are a dime a dozen. For every catchy phrase or inspiring story there are a thousand more that head in any number of opposing directions. That’s why Jesus didn’t call the church to be His great communicators, He called us to be His witnesses.
Witnesses may or may not persuade, but that’s not up to them. Their only real job is to share what they saw, heard, felt; what they experienced. And let me tell you what makes an effective witness: credibility. An effective witness isn’t necessarily one that can articulate what they experienced, it’s the one you believe. In a day and age when everyone has an agenda words are cheap. But show me someone who has been changed by what they witnessed; a person who came out the other side different? That is credibility. Let me see that your experience affected you beyond the immediate circumstances and then I’ll listen. Anything less is suspect.
So, Church, this one’s for you. You say that Jesus died so that you might make the impossible journey from your sinful self to a redeemed child of God. That because of what He did you are no longer assured damnation for your sins but have in fact been saved from your fate and instead been grafted in to the family of God. You claim that you are the beneficiary of the atrocity of the cross. Basically, you enjoy the gifts that came from someone else’s unjust pain and suffering.
How could you not spend your life in service to those who are suffering as you should have?
How can your heart not break when you see others beaten down by injustice?
I was having breakfast with a great friend and colleague this morning. It has been some time since we had a chance to see each other so we crammed everything in from “How are the wife and kids?” to “How about that election?” In the course of our conversation this idea came up. We both work in full time ministry and have come to the same conclusion. Your words are not what will inspire people, what will make a difference; only your life can do that. Do you actually care for others when it isn’t convenient or even smart? Do you sacrifice your own comfort or happiness to help others find the joy that supposedly changed you? Do you live your life like someone who has actually been a witness to the most incredible event to ever take place?
If so, then let me remind you that right now in our country there are men, women and children who are suffering injustice that they don’t deserve. Even as we prepare to sit down and celebrate, or hopefully solemnly remember that EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN (who is not indigenous) benefits from an atrocity that we had nothing to do with, but we benefit from just the same. Let me remind you that there are men, women and children that are not enjoying the free gift that came at the labor of someone who didn’t need to lift a finger to help them. So, Church, can I please get a witness!?