We are taught from an early age about the importance of sharing. Kids learn early on how easy it is to be greedy, and how the consequences can be bad. To be honest, most of us adults never overcome this sinful habit!
Sharing is incredibly importance. We share because it is a physical act of several admirable virtues, such as compassion and empathy. When we see someone who has very little (from toys to money), by giving out our own resources, we are able to live out kindness.
The same idea is also outlined in our, too. We bless others through our own personal blessings. If we claim to have faith, we must also have generosity. James 2 puts it this way:
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Scripture is clear in noting that our charity ought to be holistic. We care about someone’s physical needs, as well as their spiritual ones! Faith and deeds must go hand in hand. We cannot truly have one without the other.
Just as we ought to share material goods with those in need, sharing our faith is important. This is obviously less “physical” than tending to needs like hunger or shelter. Yet the words we share about God to one another matter greatly. I’ve noticed that we sometime struggle with this idea as a denomination. Generally speaking, we are quite focused on social justice and outreach work as Methodists (and have a rich history of doing those things!), but we can feel uncomfortable talking about our faith with others. We might even subconsciously think that “testimonies” are just what the Baptists or evangelicals do down the road!
It is my prayer that everyone at Concord has experienced powerful encounters with God. However, that’s only one step in the process. Hopefully we have a desire to share about those encounters with other people, to they can experience the goodness of God for themselves. Just as we want to help people through a food pantry, mission trip sponsorship, or clothing drive, hopefully we also have the same passion when it comes to our words.
In our Sunday school lesson yesterday, we talked about the importance to telling your story. We all have a testimony, and we have the opportunity to help others by telling our story to people who might need it. As you consider what sharing your own faith looks like, consider the following questions…
- What have been some difficult seasons of life? Did I seek God during those times?
- When did I first experience God’s presence?
- What does God’s presence feel like? Why is it important for me to feel God?
- How do I regularly experience God right now? (Music, silence, prayer, reading scripture, fishing, etc.)
- How has following Jesus made a difference in my life?
- What is a sin that I’ve overcome through the Holy Spirit’s power? What part of my life is God “working on” right now?
- How has God changed my behavior, thinking, or attitude?
- What have I learned about God since I first became a Christian?
I encourage you to reflect on these prompts. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from your our past and be better able to articulate how God has impacted our lives.
When it comes to testimonies, sometimes we do not know where to start. Maybe we overlook the value of sharing our words with others. Perhaps we don’t think our story is interesting enough. But God calls absolutely everyone to be an apostle.