Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Jesus spent a lot of His time on earth telling stories. We see His parables throughout the Gospels, but as far as we see in scripture, we do not see His personal testimony. Instead we learn all about Jesus’ story through what others say about Him. The Gospels are inspired scripture, and if you have a “red letter” Bible, you can clearly see what is recounted as the words of Jesus. Yet, even in His own words, Jesus doesn’t focus on Himself–on his story–but instead, on His relationship with His Father.
What would the story say about you if someone else wrote it? What would the story be if someone else told it?
When to Share
Some parts of your story may be difficult to share. Some of your story may make you ashamed, and some of it may be hidden even to your closest friends. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need a formal audience to share your story. You don’t need a book deal, a blog, an article, or a space in the bulletin. You can share your story in the checkout line, on the playground, at the doctor’s office, the parent-teacher conference, the elevator, or county jail. There’s no wrong place to do it! Also, you’d be surprised how many people will listen to your story if you ask permission to tell it to them. Next time someone asks you how you’re doing (strangers do this all the time), instead of saying “fine”, try “how much time do you have?”
Think about it: the world is full of people sharing all the negative things. It seems no matter what kind of small-talk takes place, it always seems to turn negative. No matter what is going on in the news, it turns negative. Even church announcements can turn negative. If it’s socially acceptable to share all the bad things going on right now–it’s also okay to share the good. The God.
There’s a special thing that happens at a writer’s conference called “the elevator pitch”. This is a short pitch for your story that you can cram into an elevator ride, should you find yourself in an elevator with your dream agent or publisher. If your pitch is well-crafted, you may end up with a business card or meeting with the agent or publisher. He or she may even be thinking of you and your story hours later–even if the story itself isn’t all that great! The presentation was the hook! Your story may not be all that great. You might have bumps and bruises that are still healing, but it can still have an impact.
The general idea at a writer’s conference is if you find yourself in the elevator with an agent or publisher, and you waste that time with idle small-talk (or worse–silence!), you’ve wasted a valuable opportunity. We don’t often want to waste an opportunity for personal advancement, so writer’s spend hours and days or longer crafting the perfect elevator pitch. When sharing our testimony (or our personal story), it doesn’t often benefit us, but others. Is it less important? The answer is a huge, bold-faced NO. If you knew that sharing your experience, your story, your smile would change someone’s life for the better, would you? Would you spend time crafting it? Would you try to cram it into as many conversations as possible?
What to Share
The formula is simple.
My life before Jesus→How I came to Jesus→My life after Jesus
You don’t have to juice it up with fancy religion-speak. You don’t have to linger on the sins and negativity of the past to glorify God. You don’t even have to mention church or the Bible. Your story doesn’t have to be a plug for your small group, your church, or a television program. It’s about a relationship. Yours and God’s.
Remember the last time someone asked “How’d the two of you meet?” when they first met you and your husband/significant other/best friend/etc. Remember how easy it was to answer that question? The joy that returned to your eye, the smile that crossed your face? Now think about your Savior.
How’d the two of you meet?