HAVING A TESTIMONY IN LIFE
Second, along with our prayer and preaching, we must have a testimony in life. Without a testimony in life, our preaching and prayer will not be prevailing. A person once preached the gospel to his colleagues for more than ten years. Day by day he did the preaching but without result. This is because he had no testimony in life. On the one hand, he passed out tracts and preached the gospel, but on the other hand, he argued with people and easily lost his temper. That spoiled and hindered his preaching. There is the need of a testimony in life. We have to fall into the earth to die for Jesus’ sake, and we must be resurrected. Then we will have a testimony in our daily life.
The Testimony of a Humble Employee
I can never forget a certain brother who studied engineering in this country. After graduation he went back to China, and by the time I met him, he was the head of a department in our college. I was surprised that such a highly educated and high-ranking person could be saved. He told me his story, which was very inspiring. For several years a certain brother worked under him in the government. This brother held a very low position. In China, especially in the early years, people in high positions looked down on those in positions like this. They considered them unequal to themselves and did not like even to talk to them. However that brother, a lowly, small employee in that department, tried his best to contact the head of the department and tell him about the Lord Jesus. The head considered that since he had studied in America, he knew all about Christianity, and he did not need it. It seemed that the lowly brother could do nothing, but every morning he came early to the office and put a tract on the desk of the department head. When that man came in, he saw it. This happened every day without exception for several years.
That man was not happy with the brother, but he could not fire him. After about three to five years, the man spoke with his wife, who had also studied in America. He said, “Let us go to that poor fellow’s home and see what they are and what they are doing.” That he suddenly had such a thought must have been the Lord’s answer to prayer. The couple went to visit the brother. They went into his home and stayed for a certain time. The testimony was there. They noticed their family life and were impressed. After they returned home, they talked with each other. The man said, “We two are highly educated. You studied home economics, but how poor our home is. Those people are from a lower class. They have not been educated as we have been, but what a wonderful family life they have!” This was the brother’s testimony.
That couple again contacted the poor brother and his wife and asked them how they had such a beautiful family life. The brother’s answer was simply that they had Jesus. At this point the Holy Spirit convinced them. This highly educated couple in the highest position knelt down, prayed, and accepted the Lord, and they were saved. Not long after that, I was invited to their town, and I stayed in their home. They truly loved the Lord. They were saved through preaching in the way of life. That was not only the preaching of the gospel; that was the imparting of life, the imparting of Christ. This is the increase of Christ.
I was also invited to the first brother’s home. He gave me the testimony with tears of how much he suffered just for that one couple. He was despised, looked down upon, and treated poorly because that man was in the higher position. The department head was not happy with this poor brother, so he did many things to persecute him, and the little brother suffered all the time. Still, whenever he saw that high official, he always smiled at him humbly. Regardless of how he was treated, he was happy within and put a tract on his desk over a period of several years, even though all the tracts, without exception, went into the wastebasket. I have heard many such stories as this one.
The Testimony of a Missionary
The first Presbyterian missionaries who went to China had a real love toward those poor Gentiles, and they had a testimony. That love and testimony convinced the people, and through that, the door for the gospel was opened. Otherwise, it would have been too hard to open the door among the poor, conservative Chinese. One story is the most inspiring. At that time, no doors for the gospel were open. The missionaries could not do anything. The people made a corporate decision that no one in the whole village would open his door to any of the foreign missionaries. Whenever a foreign missionary came to the village, a gong was beaten to warn of his coming. Then all the people closed their doors. Not one person in the whole village would come out of his home until the gong was sounded again because the missionary was gone.
One dear brother, who was a missionary, studied the situation and began to pray. The people would close their entrances and wait for a long time. The brother would stand beside a door, and when someone would open it to see if the foreigner had gone, the brother would put a stick into the door. He would push the door until he was half through it, and then regardless of what the people inside did, he would push all the way through. In China in the early days, almost every home had a grinding room with a millstone to grind the wheat and corn. That was a hard task since there was no power in those homes. If someone was rich, he would use a horse or mule to do the work, but if he was poor, he would do the grinding by himself.
The missionary studied this situation. After coming through a door, he would right away run to the mill to do the grinding work for the people. The whole family would pay no attention to that poor fellow. They said, “If he is willing to do the hard work for us, let him do it.” The brother would continue to grind without stopping for several hours, almost for the whole day. That touched the heart of the people in the family, especially the older generation. The grandfather would come and give him a cup of water and say, “Drink it.” The missionary would thank him and drink it. Then he would keep on grinding. That truly touched them. It was because of this that the older generation was opened to the brother. They would say, “Please sit down and have a rest. How old are you? From where did you come?” It was through this that the doors were opened one by one.
There are other such stories that are truly inspiring. I would impress you that there is no easy way to bear fruit. If a grain of wheat is to bear fruit, it has to fall into the earth, die, and be resurrected. Then the life will come out. Almost everyone, especially in this country, knows something about Christianity. We cannot win people in a light way or easy way. Rather, we have to pay the price. We have to win people at a certain cost. We have to pay a price for our relatives, neighbors, colleagues, and classmates. We must pray for them and testify the Lord Jesus to them, giving them a real testimony in life.
There is the need of a testimony in life. This kind of testimony cannot be built up in one or two days. It requires a certain period of time. As students in school, we have to build up a testimony day by day. Then after a few weeks or months the way will be prepared to bring people to the Lord. This is the most prevailing way. In this way, not only will people be brought to the Lord, but they will also be kept. I say again, this is not merely the preaching of the gospel but also the imparting of life to others. We have to practice this. In order to be balanced, we must have a life of preaching.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)