A Voice in the Wilderness - Observations and Excursions of a Christian Zealot

Terry Walker's Weblog --- Occasional articles on the Christian Ethic

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Witness

During my years on this earth I have heard many religious witnesses, mostly false, some true, and even fewer, faithfully sincere! When I was a Jehovah Witness I did very little witnessing for Jehovah, and most of it was fictitious and certainly not sincere. But when God saved me, I actually had a witness, but by then I was scared to death to speak for fear of leading someone astray. But the other believers around me couldn’t seem to keep quite; they were constantly talking about Christ or at least religion. The problem was that some of these witnesses never grew past the stage of salvation; there was no wisdom in their witness. Beyond the innate understanding of their own salvation, their opinions, not the Bible, served as the basis for their conversation. The Bible says that “where there is much talk, there is much sin” and I believe this to be true for any believer who’s voice exceeds his biblical understanding. I think we would all be wise to follow a simple rule for every word that we speak. If you are not willing to die for what you say, shut up!

However this does not relieve a believer, even a newborn believer, of his responsibility to be “a minister of the New Covenant”. In this endeavor the Bible says that you, as a believer, are sufficient. Your salvation is immediately a powerful witness for Christ. Speak boldly! Speak what you know! And speak no more! There are many examples of people who witnessed for Christ in the Bible. Many of the people healed by Jesus immediately witnessed to others what Jesus had done for them. Understandably, these were saved and unsaved individuals who were witnessing of healing, not salvation. But I have found no example of a “newborn” believer immediately going into a synagogue and teaching Scripture. Our sufficiency in all things comes from our Lord, Who is certainly capable of giving you what you need to know when you need to know it. A wise witness never witnesses beyond what God has given him to understand. But do not remain a “milky newborn”; study to show yourself approved and your witness will grow in God given wisdom. The meat of the Word is satisfying indeed. Be satisfied and let what comes out of your mouth be no more than what went in.

But of all the witnesses that I have heard in my life they all have something in common. They all were voluntary witnesses. They witnessed of Christ because they wanted too. But recently I had a whole new experience. I saw a new way to witness for Christ. The interesting thing is that you don’t actually say anything and it isn’t voluntary. If I have peeked your interest, then let us proceed.

A short time ago I met with Brother Paul, for lunch and fellowship, and while that alone would make any true believer’s day, my heart on this day was particularly burdened. I had questions burning in my mind as to how it was possible to serve in a very public way, without messing up your intentions to glorify God, with pride or selfish interests. Is the using of your gifts for service the same as monetary tithing? What if someone offers to pay you back? And what if you have several gifts? Should you use them all? Is all talent a God given gift? What if you have wide ranging general talent? Isn’t a Christian called to be a specialist, not a “jack of all trades”? And why does panic strike me if someone is verbally thankful for something God gave me to do? The bottom line; I was in all out war with my evil pride, and I wasn’t sure how to keep it in check, while glorifying Christ. These questions were robbing me of the joy I should have in serving my church and you, my fellow believers in Jesus.

When I arrived at the restaurant along with my friend Steven Burch, we discovered that Scott Batson was also at our table. Having never really met before, I thought “the more the merrier, if this poor guy wants to share in my dilemmas so be it”. I soon discovered that Scott is an Elder in our church for a reason; because he embodies all the necessary qualities that the Bible demands of a man in such a position, namely, Scott has a heart for serving his bothers and glorifying Christ without a heart for glorifying himself in the process. My three companions quickly had my mindset straight and my will ever more determined to mercilessly slaughter my flesh. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

So it was, that I met Scott Batson. And I left that restaurant having been comforted by a wise man, that I now had a great desire to know better. So it was with no small curiosity that I attended the church wide meeting, only days ago, to hear what was to be said concerning Scott Batson and his friends.

It quickly became apparent that this meeting was being held to lovingly call wayward church members and long time friends of Scott’s family to repentance. I felt suddenly odd about reviewing the details of Mr. Batson’s personal life. I somehow felt dishonorable and wanted to leave, but figured God must have a purpose in this, Scott must have a purpose, and our church must have a purpose. So I searched for a purpose beyond the obvious act of love for wayward souls; so I listened to what was said and I read every detail.

And then God did something wonderful. Amidst all the contracts and numbers and dates and letters, God revealed to me a heart, the heart of a Samaritan who did not walk by when he found a brother in need, the heart of a wife who would accept financial loss for the sake of a friend and sister in Christ. Scott and Renee did so with no small effort and in anonymous privacy without seeking acknowledgement. The Holy Spirit has truly worked a work in believers such as these. At every turn they acted out of love for their friends and fear of God, striving for a heavenly reward instead of earthly notoriety.

It was never Scott’s plan for anyone to know what he and his family so lovingly did for his friends. Nor would Scott ever write such words as these about himself, but I will, because Scott’s plan to privately glorify Jesus was not God’s plan. Sometimes you can glorify God in private, and sometimes God requires that you give an account of what He has done for you.

For His glory! For His majesty!
For He alone is worthy of praise! Amen!

Just like the blind man when he was healed, witnessed and proclaimed the name of Jesus, so now do Scott and Renee’s lives stand, for all to see, as a shining example of the power of submitted lives to Christ.

Praise the Lord for He is mighty and sovereign and works all things for His glory. Praise Him for exposing this awesome witness, not a voluntary “newborn” witness of salvation, but the un-voluntary witness of seasoned believers with a life style of good works tempered with wisdom and faith. The apostle Paul once told people to look at his life and imitate him. Do as he does, live as he lives! And while I doubt that Scott would ever utter these words, his life never the less speaks them just the same.

Praise the Lord God Almighty for this work He has done in our brother. What an awesome witness it was.

Brother Terry Walker
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, South Carolina