Having grown up in church, attending nine months before I was even born you have the opportunity to witness many interesting events.
One of my favorite types of settings in the church environment is the testimony service. It is when people speak of what God has done in their lives.
My mother, prior to her passing told me of a testimony service she and a life long friend attended. I was young, maybe three or four and was seated between my mother and her friend Juanita.
What made this interesting is that Juanita stuttered and that Juanita was not comfortable speaking before crowds of people…and…when she was nervous she stuttered almost uncontrollably.
In this setting the pastor was asking for the next person to speak of God’s goodness. As the congregation waited it occurred to me that I had not heard neither my mother nor Juanita say anything about God.
So, I took it upon myself to help the preacher, and said rather loudly, “Juanita, stand up and talk to that man!”
Needless to say, her fear of speaking and her speech impediment made for an interesting testimony. However, my mother did say that after she sat down, Juanita said clearly, with no stutter at all, “I’m gonna kill him. I’m gonna kill Johnny when we get out of here.”
However, among all of the testimonies I have ever heard, in churches, prisons, on the street, etc. came from a man who has had many publicly embarrassing moments.
The year before the very successful movie, The Passion of the Christ was released, the company I worked for at the time was involved in the screening for the film in the Atlanta area. Many Christian leaders from all denominations were gathered to view and give input as to the “rough draft” if you will, of the film.
Mel Gibson, spoke before and after the screening.
In the question and answer period following the screening, a pastor asked this question, “Mr. Gibson, you have spent over thirty million dollars of your personal money to make this film. Why is this movie so important to you?”
It was then that I witnessed the most raw and moving testimony I have personally ever heard.
He began by saying, “Well, of all I have been through, here is a man who died for me. It seems like a pretty small price to try and repay.”
Mel Gibson went on to tell, in a gut honest non religious way, what God had done in his life and how he would continue to struggle, which he has.
I wondered then as I do now, how do we repay God for his goodness to us?
If we tithe a tenth of every dollar we earn throughout our life, is that enough?
If we give to those in need, both in time and money, is that enough?
If we sell everything we own, literally, and give it to the poor, is that enough?
If we give our bodies to be burned for the cause of Christ, is that enough?
Without love, none of these sacrifices even matter, they are without value.
The truth is that, as you know we can never repay God for his goodness.
Because it is never ending.
The only way I know how to give back to one who died for me what seems like, as Mel Gibson said, “a small price to pay”, is to extend God’s love to others.
A smile, a touch, an encouraging word, to recognize and express the beauty in the sometimes ugliness of life.
To know that God has allowed any of us to speak and act on His behalf toward another person is quite humbling.
The verse following Psalm 116:12 sums it up beautifully.
“How can I repay the Lord, for all his goodness to me?”
“I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:13
Repay His goodness to you by displaying His goodness to others.
Introduce them to His goodness, His salvation and His name.
He’ll take it from there.