Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Witness to People

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”
–Ezek 33:7-9

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at that Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.  Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
–Lk 7:36-38

A signatory to the United States declaration of Independence, Arthur Middleton (1742–1787) wrote, “The priest is Christ’s slave, and Christ himself took the form of a slave and became obedient to death.  So the priest is serving human needs lives a Godward life, possessed by God and witnessing that only when lives are utterly possessed by God do they find their true freedom.”  So let us sing about Christ’s word, for his commandments are righteous (Ps 119:172).  Monica Johnson (b. 1946) assured us: “We live unto Him, so committing our service to the Lord is the first and foremost priority of our lives.  We can start with our reasonable services: prayer, studying, fasting, tithing, fellowshipping, and witnessing.”

The Greatest Gift

Ben Okri (b. 1959), a Nigerian poet and novelist said, “One of the greatest gifts my father give me – unintentionally – was witnessing the courage with which he bore adversity.”  This gift can take many forms.  Jesus who felt a love for a rich ruler told him one thing he lacked.  He must go and sell his possessions, give them to the poor, and he would have treasure in heaven.  Then, come and follow him (Mk 10:21).

Athol Fugard (b. 1932), a South African playwright and novelist expressed his belief in witnessing, when he stated, “The act of witnessing is important to me; somebody’s got to tell the truth, you know what I mean?”  The truth isn’t always easy to accept.  In the case of the rich ruler, he left Jesus feeling sad, because he had many possessions he didn’t want to part with.

The Technological Age

Gone are the years when there wasn’t technology in societies.  Howard Schultz (b. 1953), a businessman explained, “We are witnessing a seismic change in consumer behavior.  That change is being brought about by technology and the access people have to information.”  It isn’t only access to information, but the interactive nature of technological devices is of concern.  Everyone has the potential to witness on social media.  This gift brings with it a special responsibility for our brothers and sisters in our communities.   

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