Echoes From the Campfire

One man is a small thing, and does not matter very much.  It is how a man lives that matters, and how he dies.  A man can live proudly, and he can die proudly.”
             –Louis L’Amour  (Callaghen)

    “…They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise…”
             –Hebrews 11:38-39 (NKJV)
When I was a kid I devoured biographies.  I read almost every biography in our elementary libraries and most of them in the junior high.  Reading about the accomplishments and strong character of others fascinated me, inspired me, motivated me.  It’s not the same today, for most biographies seek more to tear down and to exhort.  They care little about their readers and the impact that the person’s life may have.  Most people, with at least a little common sense, will recognize that the people they are reading about are not perfect.
    Recently I read an article by George Matheson.  Believe it or not, it caused me to stop and ponder.  My mind went back to the church growing up and perhaps once a month on a Sunday or Wednesday night the Pastor would ask if anyone had a testimony.  Sure some of them might be on the humorous side or even mundane, but I liked to hear of what the Lord was doing in the lives of the saints.  In our youth group, once in a while, we would have what was called “popcorn testimony.”  A person would pop up with a testimony and they would choose the next person, and on it would go.
    With the idea of personal testimonies in mind, let me draw your attention to Psalm 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” (NKJV) Matheson presents the question, “Who is the ‘I’ that speaks?  From what I can tell it is a psalm of David, but it almost sounds like he is speaking of an anonymous person.  If it is David, it has to be toward the end of his life.
    But think with me a moment of the idea of anonymity.  Put it in modern terms–this could be a baker, or a truck driver.  It could be a housewife or cashier at the grocery store.  Maybe the person was talking or texting to a distressed neighbor.  Matheson puts it this way, “Many have uttered songs of faith, but this is not a song of faith, it is a song of retrospect; it is the retrospect of an obscure man, a nobody, and that is its value.  It claims no authority but experience; it appeals to no testimony but fact…”.
    People don’t care much about the common man, but think a minute, that is what most of us are.  We’re just common folk, living from day to day in the care of the Lord.  No one asks the common man to give their experience of that every day life.  Possibly the most important thing to contemplate from this passage–could you make the same statement?  Could you say, “I have always found God to be good to me?
    We live in a time where we are told to look forward, to forget the past.  We are to be progressive, not longing for the days of yore.  The past holds us back, and we are to be positive in our approach to the future.  Oh, my friend, where does the testimony come from?  It does not come from the future, for it has not happened yet.  It is what God has done for us in the past that gives us hope and confidence that He will be with us tomorrow.
    Once more, I draw from Matheson, “Hope may flicker, for an hour it may even expire; but memory is stereotyped; it is a fact; it is a monument; it is unaffected by clouds; it is independent of night or day.  I may lose the star of to-morrow, but not the green patch of yesterday.  No progress can wash away that record of the past, ‘I have not seen the righteous forsaken.'”
    Should I end with “Selah,” or just a plain old archaic term, “Hallelujah!”?