Recently, we listed the house on Airbnb — if you don’t know it, it’s a website that lets you book guest rooms in private homes as a cheaper alternative to staying in a hotel. We’ve met some interesting folks so far... A group of Malaysian college students terrified of Luna, a pair of saxophone players who swore Voxman was just as nice as Juilliard, and even one fellow who fancied himself a testimony coach.
He was a Christian and had recently returned from an international mission trip. When he learned of our passion for global missions, we started chatting. We all shared about our lives, how we came to know Christ, and how we are still learning and growing. At the end of the evening, he said, “I don’t want to be critical, but I think you could be a little more effective in sharing your testimony. It’s more impactful to tell someone, ‘On Monday, I was like that. On Tuesday, I met Jesus and now I’m like this’.”
Well EXCUUUUUUUSE me! I didn’t know we were being judged in a testimony-sharing competition! Joel and I both came to faith somewhat gradually through the faithful prayer and instruction of parents and mentors. Certainly there were specific moments we both point to and say, “God worked in me differently after that experience” and it seems our guest thought we needed to highlight those more. On one hand, I really wanted to kick him in the shin and tell him to go sleep in his car.
On the other hand, I need to confess I may have been quick to anger with our Airbnber (even if the tone and style he used to critique us was less than savory). We’re learning that testimony sharing is a large part of church culture in the countries where we’ve been lately, and I’ve found myself thinking often of those specific moments in my life that God used to change me forever. How we talk about what Jesus has done in our lives is a powerful witness to his greatness and glory in this world. We could have been more explicit when sharing with our guest.
Is it second nature to share your story? What moments do you look at in your life to say, “Jesus was missing in that part of my life, now he’s there. Now my life is different than it was before”? Even if your story is a slow, steady love song with your Creator, there are moments He sang to you in an especially grand way. Do you tell people about those times? Do you open your heart to crescendos yet unsung?
I’m sure you’re familiar with the words from Peter’s first letter (3:15): “...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect...” Peter is reminding his audience that sharing our stories of God’s work in our life is a powerful tool for making new believers. We should indeed, all be ready to share. Maybe the couch-surfing testimony coach just needed to remember that last bit of the 1 Peter verse. ;)