To Be or Not to Be?

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”[1]

All this week we have been talking about being witnesses. According to our text, Jesus tells us to start where we are as his witnesses and go out from there until we reach as many people groups as possible.  Notice if you would that Jesus never told us to “do witnessing.”  Most of the time when this subject comes up in churches, the idea ends up being some activity to share our faith, such as going out passing out gospel tracts, or going door to door to “witness” to somebody.

This understandably strikes fear into the heart of anyone who is near normal.  Our palms become sweaty at the prospect of approaching someone on a cold sales call to tell them about Jesus, whom they may or may not be interested in hearing about.  Never mind that we reason, “We must witness as much as we can.”

The problem is this: The language Christ uses here is that of being more than doing.  You will BE my witnesses.  That means the focus of our mission should be letting everyone around us know through our lives, attitudes and yes also words that we are giving testimony to the fact that Jesus is risen from the dead.

Any religious person can pass out gospel literature, or invite people to church or to a special gospel event.  This only requires some good training on how to make a good sales presentation.  However, only true witnesses to the resurrection can give convincing testimony with their lives that Jesus really is risen from the dead and active in that person’s life.

Years ago, then president of Valley Forge Christian College Owen Carr said, “Being is important.  If I am what God wants me to be, he’ll teach me what he wants me to know and he will help me to do what he wants me to do.”  So the question is: Are we being his witnesses or are we “doing” witnessing?”  To be witnesses we need that power Jesus spoke of.  Let’s avail ourselves of that power today in our everyday lives, all throughout the day and “Be what He wants us to be”: His witnesses.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ac 1:8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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