Witnessing --- Seeing is believing
” But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8 (NRSV)
“Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me” Dwight Moody
There is a famous story concerning Francis of Assisi. One day he said to one of his young friars: “Let us go down to the village and preach to the people.” So they went. They stopped to talk to this man and that. … Francis stopped to play with some children, and exchanged a greeting with a passer-by. Then they turned to go home. “But father,” said the novice, “when do we preach?” “Preach?” smiled Francis. “Every step we took, every word we spoke, every action we did, has been a sermon!” Is this also true of each of us?
What type of sermon do we “preach” as we go through each day? Whether we are aware of it or not, we are sending out messages. However, when one speaks of preaching, some believers confuse it with the image of a street-corner evangelist
using his/her most intrusive and aggressive style. Whereas, witnessing is actually a quite natural process, consciously or not, we do it every minute of the day by what we say and do or what we don’t say or do.
Although most of our witnessing is not a conscious endeavor sometimes as we become more conscious of how our words and/or actions may impact others, we may attempt to consciously monitor our deeds to project a greater degree of our piety. However, if this is carried beyond our actual level, we come across as hypocrites! This often results in non-believers leveling such a charge not only against us but even more devastating against the entire faith community. These attempts to accentuate our Christian witness usually result from our trying to operate on our own will power rather than relying on the natural leading of the Holy Spirit!! It helps each of us to keep in mind the adage, “God isn’t done with me yet!” and consequently not try to be something that we are not.
Some years back the saying; “What would Jesus do?” was popular in numerous churches. However, determining what Jesus would do and then having the power to do so are often two different things. In other words, it is not a matter of trying to imitate doing the things that Jesus did in the past. Rather, it is a manner of conforming oneself to what you perceive to be the character of Jesus, His dispositions, or His attitudes. Perhaps our best guide is to do as Martin Luther said, "Love the Lord and do what you please." Of course , his main point was: If you truly love the Lord, you will do what pleases Him and when we try to do so with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will not have to worry about the effectiveness of our witness!