Reading a recent Christianity Today article on a boring testimony gave me time to reflect that such people are the strength of the evangelical church.
In this article, Megan Hill says she was born in 1978, which is one year before our eldest daughter, and their testimonies reflect one another's.
Growing up in a Christian home, a sound grounding in Christian understanding and faith, attended Sunday School, Youth Group, gave their lives to Christ, off to tertiary studies, professional women, married Christian men, now families of their own .....
The evangelical Christian Church across the board, whatever denomination, whatever heritage or race or colour, this self same testimony becoming followers of Jesus Christ is the mainstay and life blood of such churches.
These are the people who are so very blessed out of their socks (as it were). They are not the ones with disastrous backgrounds, dysfunctional families, drug or alcohol abuse, theft or criminal backgrounds.
Those with such testimonies we love to listen too, and often wish we had such glamorous backgrounds not realising the trauma they went through and the drama that remains with them and more than likely always will regardless of their walk with the Lord. No where do the Scriptures announce that the consequences of what we do are somehow dissipated from life's outcomes.
The reality is that those with such testimonies look with chagrin that they were the unfortunate ones whose parents made bad decisions or they made poorer ones and the consequences of such still live with them today. The saving from such outcomes through Christ is what makes their story so enchanting to the delicate ears of those without such horrific stories.
The boring testimony
The boring testimony reveals what life is usually about in the western world regardless of the country. There is one difference, and this is what we shall discover.
Life for most of us in suburbia is being raised in a family consistent with middle class society. Money is generally tight, funding is found for school excursions, the school tuck shop treat, after school club activities such as gymnastics, sports, music, chess, whatever.
The brighter amongst us get to do very well in school, we all nonetheless get involved in such mundane activities as school sports, the school theatrical production, the school this or that and our parents encourage and support us – this is what is done.
In countries like Australia there are a thousand different opportunities to be involved in after school entertainment – such as sport, culture, music, rock climbing, mountaineering, bush walking, skiing, winter sports, surfing ... the list is endless.
When we grow up a little, the same kind of repetition is engaged in at university or in sport clubs (whatever) and we move on to such things as the SES, Bush Fire, Service Clubs, it's kind of all chartered for us.
And in this mix is the local church – delivering a philosophy for life based on the teaching and life of Jesus and theologically on the Letters of Paul. This is the boring testimony. It's the mainstay of both the church and society.
It's intrinsic value
The intrinsic value of such a boring testimony is that it provides a relatively pleasant life and life-style. The income is such that we have a roof over our head, enjoy the benefits of strong local municipalities such as botanic gardens, lovely pathways for walks, garbage collections, and the like.
Moreover we want our own children to be the beneficiaries of such intrinsic values of both society and Christian belief where societal corruption is not endemic but where ethical business ensures everyone gets a fair go should they take the opportunities that come their way – understanding there are those more enthusiastic than others about all such pursuits.
This is the environment in which the suburban church functions. It too needs its congregants to have enough disposable income to support not only their tithes and offerings, but more beside, missions and such things as building projects.
Nonetheless such a boring testimony is non boring at all. Rather it's exciting and challenging, it has its core the very life of Christ that guides us in decisions on all that we undertake from courting, to marriage, to children, to buying a house: Jesus is the spice of life.
Your boring testimony is in effect the enchantment of all testimonies how Jesus, as a miracle, came afresh into your heart and changed you forever and the blessings that come our way have a direct correlation to our walk with the Lord.
It's never boring. But yes, it's has the outward hallmarks as a boring testimony.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html