It was only after I had downed my turkey chili, and Haley (my daughter) had almost finished her brownie, that the conversation started with a fellow Panera Bread patron. She was a godly-looking lady sitting all alone in a quiet booth across from us, Bible to one side of her table, eating some soup. I asked, “So, how many people do you think come in here for Bible studies?”
“A lot,” she answered with a smile. For the next few minutes we talked church stuff, especially who her pastor was.
Now, I am not going to name any names, but her pastor is a local dynamo of a leader. This guy is a great speaker, is in great shape, has a powerful voice, has seen fantastic growth in an already large congregation, and has his book for sale at Lifeway (well la-ti-dah). What’s more, once a year, due to overwhelming demand, he shares his testimony to overflowing crowds which are stunned to hear of God’s working in this man’s life (he was a former drug lord, or something).
“Really? That’s cool,” I said. “That’s awesome.” Then, with a matter-of-fact tone that probably sounded something like, “Yeah? You think I’m impressed?” I told her, “My testimony is pretty boring…I was just the most self-righteous son-of-a-gun you’d ever meet, that’s all.”
“Ahhh, really?” she replied.
“Yeah, nothing that special…pretty ordinary.” Then, after she showed me her pastor’s book, the one that her whole dadburn multi-thousand-member church uses for discipleship studies, I made sure she heard that I had also written a couple of books – one of which was 350,000 words long – and both are for sale at Barnes and Noble (insert adolescent-like tongue flapping sound).
It made her raise her eyebrows, so I was happy. Childish, I know.
Who’s Is Better?
Here’s the thing…why is it that we are so prone to jealousy? Here’s another thing…why is it that one testimony of God’s grace will draw a crowd, but others are thought of as run-of-the-mill and boring?
Here’s another ‘nuther thing…I can’t be you, and you can’t be me, and God knows what He’s doing….and every testimony of God’s saving grace cost Jesus the same amount of blood; it took the same cross to save this preacher’s kid as it did that big drug dealer who now pastors thousands.
No “testimony” is better than another. Sure, to our ears it may sound more dramatic to hear how God delivered a person from a life of gross sin and debauchery, but the real miracle is not about us – it’s about Him. The simple truth is that it takes just as much of a miracle to save a person who doesn’t think he’s ever done anything wrong as it does to save a man who knows he deserves hell.
Were you saved from sin? So was I. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Galatians 6:14).
Testimony of Grace
Some of us have some great stories to tell, but all of us have a unique story to tell. Even though some pieces of the puzzle may seem bigger, no puzzle is complete without the smallest piece in place.
Don’t compare yourself to others who draw crowds with their stories; you are not them – you are YOU. You are you for a reason only God knows, and even though you may not be the one getting all the attention, you still play a critical part in God’s plan.
God created you for the sole purpose of bringing praise and glory to the name of Jesus Christ through your own, uniquely miraculous testimony. No one else can live your story; no one else can have your testimony.
The only one we need to compare ourselves to is Jesus. When we do that, it’s a miracle any of us are where we are today; we’re all a testimony of God’s grace.