“I’ve got one of the most boring testimonies ever.”
Christians have this shorthand for our conversion story - we call it our "testimony". It's our personal account of How God rescued us through His saving grace. Some are dramatic turnarounds like the Apostle Paul’s (Acts 9:1-19). Some are more tame accounts of faithfulness from a young age (2 Tim 1:1-14).
I was having lunch with Steve, a former boss and current mentor of mine. His dad passed away last year, and Steve recounted his father's legacy.
"He's my hero."
Steve's late father is his hero. Steve jokes that he wants to be like his dad when he grows up (Steve's in his fifties!). He said, “My dad was a solid Christian man, a pastor. He loved my mom, guided me and my siblings, and left us a godly legacy. I’ve tried to follow the example my dad set for me.”
To Steve’s point, his is the kind of testimony some might call “boring”. When’s the last time we attended an event where the keynote speaker was promoted like this:
“Come and listen to the story of a loving husband and intentional father with a wife who adores him and children who respect him. He’ll wow us with tales of the sins he didn’t commit, drugs he didn’t take, people he didn’t murder, and money he never stole.”
I know, right? Who’d go to that snoozer?
The crazier the better
I’d like to hear about the woman radically changed from a harlot (her words) to world-class Bible teacher like Kay Arthur at Precept Ministries (one of my favorite teachers, ever). I want to read books by the former convicted felon-turned-prison-ministry-founder Chuck Colson. I love those wild and sensational stories.
On one hand, this is understandable. Our God is a redeemer who can rescue and recommission anyone. It’s a blast to see him at his dramatic best!
Even so, have we allowed the God-honoring-baton-passing-legacy-of-faith to become a hum-drum-run-of-the-mill-yawner? In our rush to high-five the astonishing former atheist, did we elbow our way past a dozen faithful dads?
The gift of boringness
I was once with the father of a pastor of a large influential church. He told me, “Folks want to hear the story about that time my son went off the rails and God pulled him back dramatically. Problem is, there isn’t one. He followed the Lord at a young age and never really strayed.” He continued with a wry smile, “And, I think that’s a pretty decent testimony.”
Amen, brother! Gimme a B! O! R! I! N! G! Whaddya got?! BULLS-EYE!
As a father of five boys, one of my jobs is to try and give my sons the gift of such a testimony. If you’re a dad, join me! Let's go down in history as the Boring Testimony Generation!
And, if you know a dad who’s excelling at such monotony, send him a note of encouragement. Maybe say something like, "Man, your family is riddled with some of the most uninteresting faith stories I've ever heard! Keep up the dull work!"
Let's not allow what God calls good to be called anything else.
I kidded with Steve that day, “I might start using that as Manhood Journey’s marketing slogan: Helping Fathers Create Boring Testimonies Since 2014!” If you’d like to learn how our father and son Bible studies can help you give your sons a similarly anticlimactic testimony, reach out to us at www.manhoodjourney.org.