One of my friends stood in front of the church to share his testimony. As he began to share a few of us were sat together and our jaws were hitting the floor. We had known our friend for a few years but had never known anything about his history (just how little we knew soon became clear). When you met him, he struck you as one of those clean-cut people. You know, one of those who had had a happy childhood, never went off the rails and who even kept off the grass if the sign told him too.
But that was not the testimony he was sharing with us now. It seemed like every evil I could imagine (and some that I couldn’t) had been his history. From drugs to prostitution, from abuse to academic failure. With each new revelation we, his friends, were more shocked. As he started each new episode with the simple phrase, ‘God saved me from a life of …’ we had to agree, God had truly redeemed him from that life, he was definitely free.
I’m not sure how long his testimony went on for. It felt like it was around half an hour because of the enormity of the revelations. In reality it was probably less than ten minutes before he finished. How could we have known so little about him? Why didn’t we ask more before?
Finally, this shocking testimony of God’s absolute redemption came to an end. I will never forget the final words he spoke: ‘God saved me from all these things. God saved me from them so much that I never went anywhere near them. This is my testimony: I was raised in a Christian home, I gave my life to Jesus when I was four years old and I have been following him faithfully ever since.’
This was the greatest testimony I’ve ever heard. Don’t get me wrong, I rejoice with every person that God has redeemed from the gutter of society, the entrapments of satan and the blindness of a worldview without God. Each of our stories is a story of God’s redeeming and restoring grace. But greater still is the testimony of a life consistently lived for God through every season.
Thank God for the Mary Magdalene’s who find Christ, but thank God also for those in the church who are like Samuel: 1 Samuel 2:26 says, And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favour both with the Lord and men. Towards the end of his life we read, 1 Samuel 12:2-3 I am old and grey, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader since I was young. Here I am. If I have done anything wrong, you must testify against me before the Lord and his appointed king.
Which testimony would you want for your children? I know what I am praying for, for mine.
So this comes to my next point. Your testimony is good and needs to be shared. Whatever your testimony is, I hope you are sharing it with your children and the next generation around you. You may not feel like your testimony is exciting enough to be turned into a movie, or that it warrants you travelling around the world to share with all. But I know which testimony I want for my children.
In writing this, my wife and I took time to share our testimonies with our children again. We realised it had been a while since we had done this. What a wonderful rich conversation we had together.
Why not share your testimony with your children today!