Saturday, 12 February 2011

Ordinary Witnesses

Of all of the things that trouble us people who believe in Christ,one that comes up frequently, is how to share what we believe, without looking foolish, getting it wrong or completely switching off the folks we are talking to. Some of us think they are not capable of witnessing to others.

When I look at the Bible I see a right motley crew of  disciples - tradesmen, manual workers, Tax men, revolutionaries and so on. Yet when they were sent out by Jesus, they came back with tales of wonder at what they saw from their witness to him. Ordinary people, like you and me, doing extraordinary things because Christ enabled them to. As we come to The Acts, we find even more amazing things, those with little education as well as those with a good education winning people to Christ with their witness, their words and their enthusiasm in the face of every trial and problem.

Maybe the clue is that they seemed to have no regard for what others thought of them, only that the way they lived should provide opportunity to "preach" the gospel to as many as possible. Paul worked among others to get to know them and so let them find out about him, Peter stayed with a tanner, not only an unclean profession but also tends to infuse its stench onto all who are in contact with the tanner. Peter is welcomed by the Centurion who asks him to visit, Paul makes friends among every type of person.

Perhaps our focus should be on what Peter says, that all who believe in Christ should be ready in every situation to give a reason for the hope that they hold. But more important and less remembered, the words that follow - "But do this with gentleness and with respect".

Theres no great teaching to take on board from outreach specialists, just a need to live among people, share their lives, be ourselves and care about their immortal future more than we care about our reputation and community standing.

Oh ... and know why you believe and what that has meant to you ...

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