Panel Presentation: Witness in our Lives
Wilson Shivachiis the clerk of Nairobi Yearly Meeting, in Nairobi, Kenya. He is aged 55 years, married with seven children aged between 18 and 34 years. He has just retired from the University of Nairobi where he worked as an Electronics Technologist. His desire is to continue serving the Lord.
I give glory and honor to God our creator and also thank the FWCC World Office for giving me this opportunity share with you my experience as a Quaker.
I was born and brought up in a Quaker family and went through Quaker schools. But this alone was not enough to make me a witness of God. It takes the hand of God to make one understand and be in communication with our creator – the Almighty God.
When I was a young man in church, my pastor read verses in Isaiah 6: l-8, and in particular verse 8 which says: ‘Whom shall I send? And who shall go for us.” This was God talking to his servant Isaiah: and in response the prophet said, “Here am I. Send me.” This moved me and I started reflecting on what God wanted me to do for Him.
One cannot witness the faithfulness of God until he accepts being used by the Almighty God – I then accepted to serve God.
Who, then, is a faithful witness? This is a person who is reliable, trustworthy. And honest. This person gives honest testimony before the eyes of God.
One day I went to draw some money from a bank for some work. I went with the person to whom I was to give this money. Somewhere along the way, I met with an old friend who I gave a lift. After coming from the bank, I forgot that there were three of us in the car. So after a short distance I gave this money to the person who was seated next to me in the front seat. But some hours later, the man to whom I should have given this money asked me about it. By our standards, it was a substantial amount of money.
Now that the other man had gone and I could not trace him; it became apparent that I had to look for some money elsewhere to give to the right recipient. I was disturbed and confused. I prayed to my God and four days later I traced this old friend, and how faithful God is! This man gave me back all the money that I had given to him and said, “I thought about it and felt you did not intend to give all this to me.” This was clear manifestation that God answers prayers when you trust in him.
As I was reflecting on the theme of this triennial, I realized that God who calls us in his service gives us different gifts to enable us to give testimonies as faithful witnesses in this changing world. In I Corinthians 12:1-4 onwards, the apostle Paul enumerates some of these gifts. In fact, the Bible eventually tells us clearly that each one of us shall give an account of how we used these gifts. In the same book, I Corinthians 1:8-9, Paul says, “God will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who called you into fellowship with His son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” He continues on to say that God’s faithfulness has contributed to his own faithfulness.
The world is changing, but we must remain focused on our God that we are serving. There are some Christians who insist that we should never admit to “the going being tough” and must maintain a “positive look” on everything. This is why whenever you meet them and ask, “How are you doing today?” they respond, “Wonderful! Everything is fine.” Well, there is nothing wrong with having a positive outlook on life (it is better than being negative), but we must be real. It is not being negative to face the fact that sometimes life is difficult. To deny reality is to diminish yourself and become less of a person, and the unreality will lessen your ability to stand up to difficulties in the future.
In life, there are more growing and learning days than great and fantastic days. One Christian remarked, “Sometimes the Christian life is like taking three steps forward and one step back.” If the Christian life is anything, it is about persevering regardless of the obstacles and the crushing events of life. God has given us the grace to do that, but once again we must throw our will on the side of that grace. There is the need for trusting and there is the need for trying. Keep on trusting and keep on trying.
In the book of Matthew 24:45, God talks of “being a faithful and wise servant.” This is a servant whose master has entrusted him his household, and when he returns he finds him doing so. This is a faithful servant and gives a faithful account.
In this changing world full of wars, hatred, incurable diseases and other calamities, our only hope is in God. I am delighted by the spirit of God within this gathering. We have continued to exhibit cordial relationships in sharing our strengths, weaknesses, problems and wealth. This is a true Quaker spirit and evidence of the love of God in this Triennial. Friends, keep up to that same call, for you will give a true witness of the same at the end.
In conclusion, Friends, you will realize that I have shared on a number of issues and even made several Bible references. One may be tempted to say that these could only apply at that time. The word of God is real and we must rise to the occasion and remain faithful witnesses to God as he calls us into His service.
May God bless you all.