The practice of witness
Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words. St. Francis of Assisi
At a retreat I heard David Augsberger tell a story that I first read in his book “Dissident Disciple”. It goes something like this. An evangelical minister and an Amish bishop met to discuss their faith experiences. After lengthy conversation, the minister asked the bishop if he were saved, born again through faith in Jesus.
The Amish Bishop replied something along these lines, “I’m not the right person to ask that question. You need to ask the people who know me.”
I love that story.
I believe what the Bishop is saying is that he’s not the most reliable narrator of his own life story. For that, a person would need to interview witnesses to this man’s life.
A witness is one who makes a report on something they have seen.
Is the Bishop a Christian? If he is, then he imitates Christ. Only a third party witness can make that kind of report.
I am filled with hope as I witness people living out the life of Christ. I have a friend in recovery who epitomises what it means to bear witness. I do not know about her church affilitaion, but I do know that she does the work of the church. She participates in our local recovery community; she sponsors people; she goes to meetings; she makes 12-step calls; she supports the recovery work of her spouse and her child. She lives the life of a servant to a population that she is uniquely qualified to serve, as she suffers and actively recovers from the same affliction.
I love her work; I hope to serve half as well as she. She gives me a model for how servanthood looks.
Who do you pattern your life after? Who will pattern their life after you?