My life is a precious gift to me. But the gift of my family transcends all else. It is a sacred gift for which I give thanks with every breath I take. Important to me also, is my testimony. J. Reuban Clark, Jr. said, "A testimony is a sacred gift. It is not a matter to be boasted about; it is a matter in the greatest humility; to be used whenever the cause of the Lord requires it to be used, to be cherished, nurtured, fed by righteous living." A testimony of the gospel is an anchor to the soul in the midst of confusion and strife. When a person dies, their own life will be not only their eulogy but also their testimony. When we stand before the judgment bar we will be judged by what we are and that will be the sum total of what we have thought and said and done. It is obvious then that if we do things that are inconsistent with what we say, we will lose the blessings which might be earned by living a testimony.
Before Joan of Arc, the nineteen-year-old French peasant was to be burned alive, she was given a chance to retain her liberty by denying her faith. In choosing the fire above her freedom, she said:
THE WORLD CAN USE THESE WORDS I KNOW THIS NOW. EVERY MAN GIVES HIS LIFE FOR WHAT HE BELIEVES; EVERY WOMAN GIVES HER LIFE FOR WHAT SHE BELIEVES. SOMETIMES PEOPLE BELIEVE IN LITTLE OR NOTHING, AND YET THEY GIVE THEIR LIVES TO THAT LITTLE OR NOTHING. ONE LIFE IS ALL WE HAVE, AND WE LIVE IT AS WE BELIEVE IN LIVING IT, AND THEN IT'S GONE. BUT TO SURRENDER WHAT YOU ARE AND LIVE WITHOUT BELIEF IS MORE TERRIBLE THAN DYING, EVEN MORE TERRIBLE THAN DYING YOUNG.
We could say that this great person was an example of being, not seeming. She had a testimony that the cause she was fighting for was one worth defending. It is only as we take some active part in defending what we believe, or living up to our standards, that we will gain a truthfulness or testimony to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.