Titles or Testimonies?
Most people don’t give much thought to death, unless they are sick or they lose a loved one. I have become more of a reader in the last 6 years because I was challenged by a quote from John Wooden, “If you choose not to become a reader, you are choosing to live a life of ignorance.” That truly resonated with me, so I started reading a lot more. After all, who wants to be ignorant?
I had to search but I finally found and reread a book by Tony Campolo that I had read years ago. This book, Who Switched the Price Tags?, impacted my life years ago and today has renewed many convictions in my life, one being a life lived for “Titles or Testimonies.”
I first read this book in my twenties. I had recently relinquished the title of Miss South Carolina and it made me really take a step back and examine how I would live the rest of my life. Having been a title holder and a representative of our state, I felt a huge responsibility to be a positive representative and be respectful of the position with which I had been entrusted. I still feel that responsibility. I also found myself examining my responsibility as a Christian. How well do I represent Christ? Which I might add here, I have failed at miserably at times.
Tony Campolo’s book spelled out the importance of a life well lived. He emphasizes over and over again that we often lead such busy lives that we “Switch the Price Tags” on the truly important things in life. He poses the question: how would we want to be remembered?
At our passing, do we want a long list of accomplishments read or do we want a long line of lives that we have positively impacted and made a difference in?
Just from being a title holder of Miss South Carolina, which has given so much to me personally, I can tell you I would rather choose the lives! The one thing money can’t buy and death can’t take away is the people whose lives we have valued and taken the time to positively impact.
I immediately think of Dawn Smith Jordan who is a title holder. I passed the crown of being Miss South Carolina to her in 1986. What a privilege to have passed the title to someone who has used her title to take a powerful testimony all over the world. For those of you who don’t know Dawn’s story, it is best told by her. But just to give you a glimpse: while in high school, her sister, Sherrie, was kidnapped from there driveway in Lexington, SC and was later found murdered.
The story of the horrific way that Sherrie died and all the details that Dawn and her family lived through are so tragic and unfathomable that there was a movie made about it. Dawn has written a book entitled, “Grace So Amazing.” It has encouraged me so much to see someone like Dawn take such tragedy and do so much good.
Whether you have a story like Dawn’s or not, it doesn’t have to keep you from a testimony of having the right “Price Tags” in life. It doesn’t have to keep you from sending a card or email to encourage someone, or going on a mission trip and skipping a vacation. You can spend one Thanksgiving feeding the homeless, or simply take a meal to a sick neighbor.
Daily decisions to positively invest in the lives of others is a choice that leads to great value.
Funny how the more we can get “outside of ourselves” and invest in the lives of others, the more we have the opportunity and privilege to increase our “Price Tag” or what I call, “Our Testimony.”
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:34-40).