I heard a couple of “testimonies” in the past week. The idea behind a testimony, as I understand it, is to tell of what God has done in your life. Some people do it better than others.
Here at the mission trip I’m on, we heard from a man who has been on the mission field for many years. He told story after story of things that happened to him. The stories were wild and miraculous, but something didn’t sound right. For a while, I had trouble figuring out just what was I didn’t like about what he was saying. Then it hit me: he’s the hero of his own story.
A couple of nights later, another missionary spoke to us. His story was the exact opposite — not in wild or miraculous events, but in who exactly the hero was. Every story started and ended with a statement like this: “I didn’t know what I was doing, but God did something great anyway.”
Now, the first fellow talked for almost two hours (TWO HOURS!), and I don’t recall a time where he gave God the credit for what happened. It was, “God told me to do this, and I did it.” That got old long before the two hours were up (did I mention it went on for TWO HOURS?). I got tired of hearing yet another story of how well he obeyed God. Honest, I did.
Get this: I have heard the second guy’s story nine times before. Nine times — I counted. But I’m always willing to hear it again, and now I know why. In his story, he’s just an extra — Jesus is the hero.
If you’re going to tell your testimony, remember to make Jesus the hero. That’s a good lesson to learn, no matter how long you’ve been on the mission field.