By Caitlin West
A few weeks ago, while serving in the remote Northern Ontario community of North Caribou Lake First Nation, my team was asked to sing during the church service. As we approached the stage ready to sing, the pastor turned to us and in broken English said “Testimonies.” Testimonies? After some translation by another member of the community, we realized he was asking all of us to share our testimonies instead of him preaching a sermon. This was it, we were the whole show. We looked at each other trying to absorb this and pull together some sort of unspoken plan. As we sat down on a bench at the front of the church, our team lead looked down our row and zeroing in on one member whose career includes public speaking, asked,
“Are you ready to share?”
“Always” came the reply.
“And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Peter 3:15b
Always. Always? That was pretty convicting. Am I always ready? I didn’t know what I would say. My testimony would be so boring. But here’s the thing, church. A testimony is not a play by play of your life, but rather a proclamation of the glory of God. It is a story about the ways in which Jesus has worked and been evident in building His Kingdom through you. How He has revealed His truth to you. It does not have to be preplanned, but you must still be prepared. The more you focus your eyes on Christ, the easier it is. So, I ask myself the question,
“Holy Spirit, what do you want me to say?”
“What hope have you revealed to me that I can share so that others may, in turn, experience your hope?”
1 Peter talks about always being ready. Always being in that place where if asked where your hope comes from, you are ready to answer. And not only ready but bold in your words. When we obey His calling and answer, we are dependent on the Holy Spirit, following His lead and in tune with Him.
But how do we become ready? As a church, we are going through a series called Acts of Prayer, that focuses on areas in our life that will help us to become more in tune with God’s voice. So, when we are called to share where our hope comes from, we know His voice and are ready.
Are you ready, church?