It's the last thing Jesus said to us, before he flew back home.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
I like what he said, and I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to carry it out. He's asking us to be witnesses. Notice how he doesn't ask us to be judges. For some reason, we like to get those two mixed up. Time to focus on being a witness - in my neighborhood, and beyond.
What is a witness?
So what does it mean to be a witness? A witness does more than just observe. A witness also testifies. A witness sits in the witness box, waiting for the right time to tell her story.
A witness has to get his story together, sort things out, get them in order, and be ready to share. A witness has to tell his own story, anything else is hearsay. It's OK to talk about yourself, to tell your own story.
I have many stories to tell and I love to tell them, when the time is right.
I am the mother of a brilliant college student. My story had a tough beginning, including the time when doctors told us our child wouldn't learn to talk or return our love. This story has such a happy ending now that I love to tell the story. It's a story of hard work, desperate searching, a mom's blind faith, and a boy's courage.
I am the wife for 23 years of a talented musician and entrepreneur. Our story has many tough chapters. We have been through things that have lead other couples to divorce court, even to commit murder. Yet our story has a happy ending now and I love to tell the story. Our story is about commitment, forgiveness, loving and letting God do the loving for me when I had no love of my own to give.
I am a worship leader to whom God gave a vision long before he gave me a job. The journey takes me on a path straight through churches that had issues with women in leadership, issues with musicians who also performed in the secular world, and issues about doctrinal uniformity. Still, this is a happy story and I love to tell it as it twists and turns. My spiritual odyssey takes me down interesting paths, into strange and wonderful places, and introduces me to the most amazing traveling companions.
So what is your story? Jesus asks us to tell our stories and to be witnesses. Tell the tough stories. Tell the happy stories. Tell all the stories when the time is right.
Be a witness, not a judge. Don't tear down the stories of other witnesses by judging them. Share your own story, your experience, strength and hope. Listen to others as they tell their own stories. Compare notes, laugh and dream. Tell your story.
So, what's your story?