Boring Testimonies

This was originally written for LRBC on October 15 2017.

I have frequently heard Christians suggest that they ought not share their testimony of how they came to faith, because they do not think they have anything to share. Some people, they observe, are converted as though they had been hit by a thunderbolt, and others have been changed as drastically as night is from day. But others, like themselves, seem to have nothing exciting to share about the story of how they came to be committed to Jesus Christ. Their testimony, it seems, is rather boring.

The following words from John Owen’s commentary on Hebrews offer a helpful perspective on the issue of supposedly boring testimonies: “…some people God calls at one time, some at another; some in the morning, that they may glorify grace in working all the day; some in the evening of their lives, that they may exalt pardoning mercy to eternity. On some he bestows much grace, that he may render them useful in the strength of it; on others less, that he may keep them humble in a sense of their wants. Some he makes rich in light, others in love; some in faith, others in patience; that they may all peculiarly praise him, and set out the fullness of his stores.”

The lesson that can be taken from Owen is this: Do not look wistfully at what others have in terms of gifts, grace or conversion. Rather recognise what you have – a particular personal history with the Lord and your own mix of personal advantages and faults. With these, consider how they bring acclaim to God, and also how you may utilize them to build his kingdom. A testimony is as much about the Lord as it is about you – how does your story ‘glorify grace’ and ‘exalt pardoning mercy’? How has he made you so that you may be useful to him? In this way you will find that you are able to testify to God at work in your life and to share about your grateful service to him.