Commentary by Walter Albritton


February 3, 2008


Following Jesus Means to Share Our Witness with Others  


Luke 10:1-12, 17-20


Key Verse: The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. – Luke 10:2


When I was 13 I chanced to meet a preacher who asked me where I lived. I explained that I lived in the country about 14 miles from the small town where he was a pastor. A few days later the preacher showed up at our house on a Saturday morning. He was the first preacher to ever knock on our front door.

My parents were so impressed with the preacher’s winsome spirit that they agreed to visit his church the next day. Soon all seven members of our family walked down the aisle one Sunday and joined the friendly preacher’s church.

The preacher’s name was M. C. Mathison. He asked everyone to call him “Brother Si.” Under the loving influence of Brother Si and his wife, “Miss Mary,” I fell in love with Jesus Christ. Brother Si was my father in the faith, my mentor and role model. He was for me the best example of a real Christian. When God called me to preach, my dream was to become a preacher like Brother Si. Over the years he returned my admiration by speaking of me as Paul spoke of Timothy, like a son in the faith.

God’s best witnesses are those who do small things faithfully without any headlines. My life was transformed by the grace of God because one of Jesus’ witnesses knocked on our front door one day. Brother Si used no special “technique” in witnessing to my family. He followed no formula for sharing the gospel. He simply came to us, shared his faith in Christ, and loved us into the kingdom of God. He made us feel the church needed us.

As disciples of Jesus we may witness in many ways to others. We witness by our example. We witness by the things we do and the things we refuse to do. We witness in word and deed, or as Brother Si used to say, “with our lips and our life.”

Some Christians want to be excused from a verbal witness. They want to witness without speaking, by “letting their light shine.”  When we are willing, the Holy Spirit can help us overcome our self-consciousness about witnessing verbally. I found that true in my own life.

I was hesitant and shy at first about sharing the gospel with another person, especially a stranger. Slowly I kept trying and found it was rather like learning to ride a bicycle; you may fall off at first but gradually you learn “how to do it.”

What is amazing about witnessing is that God will often use a poor, stumbling witness to bring someone to faith in Christ. All he wants is for us to become willing to share our love for Jesus with someone; then God releases in the chemistry of that conversation the power of the Holy Spirit.

We soon discover that it was the Spirit who won a person for the kingdom, not our faltering words. It is thrilling to suddenly “feel” and know in your heart that God is at work in the person to whom you are witnessing. This may be an example of what the writer of Hebrews meant when he said that the word of God is “alive.” Indeed God’s word is alive! Many times I have trembled within as his word “penetrated” the soul, thoughts, and attitudes of a person who was seeking God.

Can you expect to be rebuffed if you risk witnessing to someone? Of course you will. Jesus warned his disciples that they would be “like lambs” in “the midst of wolves.” So are we sometimes. Yet my experience has been mostly positive. Few people have ever slammed the door in my face or refused to listen to my witness. On the contrary, most of the time, when I summoned the courage to speak about Jesus, people have seemed eager to hear my witness. So often it has seemed like “a divine appointment” that God had arranged, but I never knew that before I took the risk to speak.

One great secret of effective witnessing is to always share the difference Christ is making, and has made, in our lives. This is to share our personal experience of his forgiving love. What does not work well is to tell people what they are doing wrong (their sins as we perceive them), or what they need to do (repent of their sins). When we tell someone what happened when we repented of our sins, the Holy Spirit whispers in the person’s heart that he or she may need to repent also and receive the forgiveness that we spoke about. There is never a need in witnessing to stand in judgment of others.

It helps to remember that it is not up to us to change, convert or save another person. Salvation is God’s work, not ours. We witness; God saves. We are laborers, servants, witnesses of Christ. He sends us out as he sent his disciples out long ago. He expects us to initiate relationships of love with lost people so they will want to hear our testimony. Many times our witness must follow “deeds of love and mercy” that help to soften the hearts of those God has put in our pathway.

Often God humbles us by allowing our humble testimony to be one part of the process by which another person is saved. That does not diminish the value of our witness. It simply means that God often uses several of us to love someone into the kingdom. Realizing that, we must resolve to do our part. We dare not fail to do what we can when someone’s salvation may depend on our faithful witnessing.

Witnessing may begin with something as simple as taking a cake to someone who is ill or recovering from an accident. But it should not end there. As we build a relationship with someone we want to come to Christ, we should look for a way to share our love for Christ. The Spirit is eager to show us the right time and to give us the right words. Our part is to be willing to “take the plunge,” when the Spirit opens the door to someone’s heart.

God used the witness of someone, or perhaps several persons, to bring you to faith in Christ. Now it is your turn. Every day you are up to bat. You do not have to swing at every pitch. You need not expect to get a hit every time you bat. But you must swing the bat to get a hit!

As a disciple of Jesus, you are his witness. He commands you to witness for him. He expects you to witness. He will be disappointed in you if you do not. You will be disappointed in yourself if you never take the risk.

Sure it takes courage, especially at first. But the good news is: He will go with you. You will not be alone. He will help you and in answering the call to witness for him, you will experience unbelievable joy. Imagine what it will be like in heaven to have someone say to you, “I am here because of your witness.”

Since you are a witness, be the best one you can be! Now, today, and until he calls you home!

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