I used to hate it in Math class. The teacher would make us show out work. They wanted to make sure we understood the process, and so seeing how we arrived at our conclusions was vital. Seeing our errors helped them to remediate our misunderstandings.

Now as an artist/minister, I’ve noticed that while people will largely appreciate a finished piece, what they really seem to love is seeing me create the piece, live, before their eyes. I could do a much nicer piece in my studio, taking my time, and the perfectionist in me sometimes wishes I could still do that, but I get much more impact by creating something in a few minutes, while the people can see the work. They are more engaged and more ready to hear the message if they have seen the work firsthand.

I got to thinking maybe that’s why one of the most effective types of ministry is the testimony. Oh people expect we who speak to know our Bible. They even expect that we will communicate well, but that can communicate a sort of veneer over our lives. They may look at us and see us as someone who has already arrived, or someone who has always been a believer. They might see us as genuinely holy or, at worst, “holier than thou.” The testimony breaks through all that. The testimony shows the work—the work Christ has done in your life. All of the sudden the person sees what has been done in your life and begins to think, “If God can do all that in Him, I wonder what He can do in me.”

We who are privileged to speak God’s truth to people would be wise to remember that were it not for God’s work in our lives, none of us would be doing very well. Showing the work—God’s work—gives Him the glory. You don’t have to give a testimony every time, but be sure the people in your care know where the power in you comes from. Show the work.

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