Celebrate the “extraordinary” AND “ordinary” testimonies

One of the best things to hear in a worship gathering is a story of how God is working in another’s life. About once a month or so, our church has a member of the congregation share something about what God’s done in their lives—how they came to faith, something critical God’s Word convicted them on, and so forth.

Typically the story follows the well established pattern of “happy life > crisis moment > downward spiral > rock bottom > turn to Jesus > positive change in life circumstances.”

These are wonderful stories to hear, to be sure—it’s amazing to hear how God has freed someone from an addiction or restored a marriage or otherwise made a radical change in the life of a person. But I wonder if there’s a tendency to overemphasize the “crisis” salvation story to the exclusion of all others.

We want vivid details. Exact dates. High stakes…

There’s even a part of me that wonders if we gravitate toward these stories because we want to be entertained.

But here’s the thing: that’s not the story I want for my kids. And I’m pretty sure it’s not the story any Christian parent wants for theirs, either.

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My silly big kids (photo courtesy of my lovely wife)

While I realize I have no control over the circumstances by which they may come to trust and obey Jesus, my hope is for the “boring” testimony. I’d love nothing more than for Hudson, Hannah and Abigail to have a testimony that echoes what Charles Spurgeon describes in his autobiography:

It would not be easy for some of us to recall the hour when we first heard the name of Jesus. In their infancy that sweet sound was as familiar to our ear as the hush of lullaby. Our earliest recollections are associated with the house of God, the family altar, the Holy Bible, the sacred song, and the fervent prayer. Like young Samuels, we were lighted to our rest by the lamps of the sanctuary, and were awakened by the sound of the morning hymn. Many a time has the man of God, whom a parent’s hospitality has entertained, implored a blessing on our head, desiring in all sincerity that we might early call the Redeemer blessed; and his petition a mother’s earliest “Amen” has solemnly responded. Perhaps the first song we learned to sing was concerning the children’s best Friend. The first book that we begin to read contained His sweet name, and many were the times when we were pressed by godly ones to think of Jesus, and to give our younger hearts to Him. (C.H. Spurgeon Autobiography: The Early Years, p. 42)

All testimonies are worth celebrating, whether “exciting” or “ordinary.” God’s grace at work in the lives of people is something worthy of rejoicing over. Let’s be careful celebrate both equally.

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  • Ben Thorp

    I was watching an interview that Mark Driscoll did with a couple of the Mars Hill interns just the other day and he said exactly the same thing – “I want my kids to have boring testimonies”.

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