In June 2018, I took my Bible to the printery to be restored as the cover had become a bit worn. As a collector of Bibles (I currently own six), I should tell you this wasn’t just any Bible. This was my sword. My Ami-trainer. The one that has my little scribblings in the margins.
The one that I had marked and highlighted to within an inch of its life. That Bible. Understandably I was reluctant to let it out of my sight because, well... my fingers knew where everything was and it my default Bible.
The one I reached for when I was feeling low … or when I was looking for that verse that I couldn’t remember exactly… That Bible.
After he inspected it, the gentleman told me that it would be ready on Tuesday (I had brought it in on a Friday morning.) I returned to the printery the following Friday – three days after they told me it would be ready. As I walked in, the young lady at the front rolled her eyes and looked heavenwards with an exclamation.
“I’m three days late.” I said. “Why isn’t it ready?”
She called the gentleman who was supposed to have done the restoration. He explained that they had gotten a lot of rush jobs and so he hadn’t been able to do it in the time they had said. “But come back on Monday.” he assured me. “It will be ready then.”
“That won’t be possible.”
“I will restore it and leave it wherever you want.” We made arrangements for him to leave it with my husband at his workplace. I must have looked skeptical because he felt the need to assure me that he could be trusted.
He started telling me that we belonged to the same denomination and began listing members of my church family. ‘I can be trusted’ he claimed ‘because these people will vouch for me and we are brothers and sisters in Christ.’
The Bible was not delivered on Monday. I went back to the printery the following Friday. Once again as I walked in, the body language of the young lady at the front desk told me everything that I needed to know.
“Okay. I know what that means. Give me back my Bible and a refund.” She retrieved my Bible and handed it to me. The cover was dusty. Several pages had curled in on themselves. This – my Bible that I had painstakingly and lovingly cared over the years - had apparently been cast into a forgotten corner of the printery.
As Jamaicans love to say “If yuh cut me yuh wouldn’t find no blood”. That is to say at that moment I was annoyed that even the flow of blood in my body had stopped.
As I walked away with my Bible in my bag, I started thinking about what a poor witness that gentleman had given. After having taken the time to highlight his connection to Christ, he acted in a manner that was completely opposite.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells His disciples, “You shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
At its most basic level, being a witness means that you saw something happen firsthand. This person is able to give an account because they know what happened.
When Jesus told His disciples: “You are My witnesses.” He meant it literally. They had walked with Him 3 ½ years. They knew the miracles that He had done, they saw how He had fulfilled all that had been prophesied about the Messiah.
It was now their job to go and tell others about Him. 2000 years later, none of us can say that we walked with Jesus for 3 ½ years, so what does it mean for us to be a witness?
It means that we have experienced Him.
We can’t tell people about the goodness of God if we don’t have any experience with it.
We can’t speak about His love and mercy if we don’t know Him.
In order for us to be witnesses of God we have to be in a personal relationship with Him.
Are we being good witnesses? Can people look at us and see the God that we profess to serve? The God who selflessly sent His Son to die for people who had proven repeatedly that they cannot be trusted to remain faithful. The God who allows us to live though we do the things He tells us not to do and don’t do the things He asked.
Or, do we instead, reflect a God who allows each man to do what is right in his own eyes?
As children of God we are called to offer our lives as a living sacrifice. It means therefore that should spend some time learning about who God is so we can understand who He wants us to be.
How can we be good witnesses? Here are five ways:
Be honest at all times – we should act with integrity in all our dealings. People should know that when we say something, we mean it. Our work should be done ethically and morally.
Speak to people with respect – our aim should be build people up, not tear them down. Truth should be spoken in kindness and with love.
Live in a way that honors God – it’s said that people won’t read the Bible but they’ll read you. As believers we may be the only contact that some people have with Jesus. Because of this our actions matter.
Someone is always watching us: on our good days and on our bad ones. We have to consistently behave in a way that gives glory to God. Be a sermon in shoes.
Be kind in little ways – sometimes we do not give because we think we don’t have enough. We believe that if we’re not doing a big thing, then we should do nothing at all. I get it. I feel the same way. But God has shown me many times that the little acts of kindness count.
Be willing to share your faith – what would you say if someone asked you what you believe, or why you serve God? Peter encourages us to always have a defense for what we believe (I Peter 3:15).
Do you have an answer? If you don’t, start figuring out what you believe and why. That way, you’ll be ready.
What do you think it means to be a good witness? Share them in the comments below. Grab the free printable: 5 Ways to Be A Good Witness.
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