Saturday, 6 July 2013

Christian witness

Last week, I was watching a news report about Egypt the day after the army had removed the president from power. The reporter was standing in one of the city squares watching some people tidying it up after the revelries of the previous evening. He approached two men and asked them why they were doing it. I think he was very surprised when one of the men said he was the pastor of a nearby evangelical church. It was clear that he was pleased with what had happened, but it was also true that he was willing to do something to help in a practical way. I suspect he and his church have a credible Christian witness in the community.

What is Christian witness? Some think it is merely verbal and others think that it is merely doing practical things. The answer is both. The fact is, we can talk about Christian love as long as we want, but if people do not see practical evidence of it they will not take us seriously. Similarly, we can do lots of practical things, but people will not know that we are doing it for Jesus until we tell them. So both aspects have to be there.

Further, having verbal and practical expressions is not enough. There has to be prayer that both will be blessed. Nor can we assume that prayer itself is a sufficient substitute for verbal and practical ways of showing the Christian faith. Only to pray is not a biblical way of obtaining spiritual blessings. Prayer should precede, accompany and follow all that we do as Christians. When God answers our prayers in this way, then we will be effective witnesses for Christ.