Vol.XI No.XII Pg.3
February 1975

Ready But Reluctant

Dan S. Shipley

While visiting with brother Bob Craig (from near-by Austin) some time back, our conversation somehow worked around to our talented pickin and grinin brethren and the entertainment sessions they have been known to provide at various social gatherings. Trouble is, Bob said, by the time they get through with all that tunin up, its time to go home! Having had the pleasure (and the time) to observe a few such sessions, I had come to the same conclusion. Not that I dont believe in preparation — Id just like to see a little more performance, even at the risk of its being a trifle off-key.

It occurred to me that much of what we refer to as personal work may be failing for a similar reason. We seem to be forever preparing but seldom performing! And prepare we should, in every possible way. For instance, it is helpful to study good books on the subject, such as Lets Go Fishing For Men by Brother Homer Hailey. Some churches have conducted special classes that have proved profitable and motivating along these lines. And, most importantly, gaining a good knowledge of the Scriptures is indispensable in the work of personal evangelism. So, preparation in this work of saving souls must not be discounted. But lets be practical. Adequate preparation does not require perfection. It is not necessary that we know everything just to teach something. There comes a time when implementing should take priority over supplementing — especially when the latter threatens to become a substitute for the former. Like the man in the ad says, its performance that counts.

So, while it does take some knowing, it takes the going too! In fact, the whole point of preparation is performance. Why more getting-ready when those already ready wont work? Isnt it about time to leave the classrooms in favor of the fields we know to be white unto harvest? For too long now most of us have been on our marks, and getting set, set, set, without ever getting out of our starting blocks with the gospel. As Jesus might ask, Why stand ye here all the day idle? Yet, we continue to complacently stand by — prepared but idle; tuned-up but silent. And while we thusly stand by, some of. our out-of-Christ friends die that way. Others come under the influence of false teaching and still others we know are becoming more hardened in sin with every passing day. Still we stand by; ready but reluctant. Why? Do we not know Gods will for us in the matter? Do we know, but not care? Do we know and care but not have the time for such urgent work? Whatever the reason, the plain and _painful truth is that most Christians simply are not relating themselves to the work of personal evangelism — not even those who are best prepared to do such work.

Brethren, it is time that we quit excusing ourselves from such important work! Being like Christ means being concerned for lost souls. May faithful elders and preachers keep on reminding us of that. May we receive such reproof, rebuke and exhortation that we will never be comfortable in just standing by --that we may by all means save some (1 Cor. 9:22). May God help each of us to do something for lost souls. Now.