About fourteen years ago, I started playing bass guitar. I was even in a band called “The Driven.” I played off and on for about seven years, but never put a lot of time into it, and so I wasn’t very good. Then due to moves and seminary, I put the bass away, and I haven’t played for about seven years now.
Recently, as I listen to music in my car, I imagine myself playing bass again. I pick out the bass line on the song, and “play along” in my mind. And guess what? I’m pretty good! I think I’m better now than I ever was when I was actually playing bass. At least, that’s what I told myself.
So yesterday, I pulled out the bass and tried to pluck out a tune. Well, guess what? I’m not so good after all. The bass line I hear in my head has trouble translating into actual music through my fingers.
I find that this is a way a lot of us Christians are with evangelism. In our heads, we think we’re great evangelists. We imagine witnessing to that famous movie star and even President Obama if we got the chance. We dream about all the people we could serve and the crowds we could feed. In our heads, we’re all Billy Graham.
Of course, in reality, just like my bass playing, the situation is much different.
So maybe you want to do more than just dream. Maybe you really want to step out and do something. If so, let me provide some suggestions. First, you don’t need another sermon or Bible study. Don’t go out and buy another book on evangelism. Skip the mission’s training conference this year.
Instead, tell Jesus you want to learn how to be a fisher of men. Then, go do what fledgling fishermen do: drop your hook in the water somewhere. It’s the only way to learn.
When Jesus invited disciples to follow Him and become fishers of men, He did not begin by sitting them down and giving a class on how to present the proper Gospel message. He just took them out, and starting living life, letting His love and concern for others overflow through His words and actions. They watched Him touch a leper (Luke 5:12-15), raise a paralytic (5:16-26), and attend a party with traitorous tax-collectors (5:27-32).
You can do that, right? Do you know anybody who is rotting and rejected by society? I bet they could use a friend. Know anyone paralyzed by sin or sickness? You could lend a hand. Is there an office party where people will dance, get drunk, and “hook up”? Maybe you should attend.
Stop dreaming about fishing. Get out there and fish. Remember, while bad fisherman may catch few fish, one who only dreams will never catch any. As for me, I’m gonna go play bass now with some tattoo-covered guys who have long hair and bad language.