But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)
No, you read that right, it’s not a misprint. A Bass landed me. Usually, it’s the other way around. You go fishing and you land the bass but that’s not what happened to me, at least on this occasion. At the time I was landed, I was eight years old and my family resided in Plainview, Texas. I was a typical west Texas boy, thoroughly interested in all sports, adventurous, couldn’t wait to get up the next morning to find out what me and the “boys” were going to do that we hadn’t done before. It was a great way to begin the trek of life.
The “boys” were all the guys in the neighborhood that hung out together every day and all day. No locks on the doors back then, no unending busyness that sucked away all of your time, except for Little League baseball. All the sports back then had their own delineated seasons and rarely overlapped much, if at all, and you could play all of them if you so desired.
But we had time, time to find adventure and explore, and we did both. Sometimes it might cause a little issue here or there, but most of the time we just engaged in endless games and activities we just invented on our own.
During the season of my eighth year of life another boy, not from my neighborhood, but within my circle of friends, asked me to go to a Hot Dog Supper at his church. He said there would be plenty of food and girls and games. The trifecta, how perfect was that? So, I asked my mom if I could go. It progressed through the proper channels to my father and agreement was soon settled upon and I was able to give Jon the word that I was “good to go”. I couldn’t wait!
Seemed harmless enough, no worries, but as I look back on it now, I was the subject of an intentional act of love from Jon Bass to introduce me to Jesus Christ. Someone (the Lord) had put somebody else (me) on his mind and heart, enough that he was willing to risk taking me to church so that I might hear the gospel. I was in his circle of “influence”. I was one of the people that he knew, that he had some type of relationship with, and was unsure if I had ever trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior.
I still remember the “gist” of that evening. I remember the “hot dogs with chili”, I remember Monica Moat, my earliest affection, and I remember listening to the gospel. I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, I just knew that I believed what the man was telling us, that I needed Christ to forgive my sins. For one thing was certain, I knew I was a sinner, but I didn’t know the consequences of being one, he told me...it was separation from God, and everlasting death in hell. Well, needless to say that when I received that news I was intensely focused in on what he was saying about being saved (rescued) from my dire situation and the Holy Spirit was revealing the truth to me, and convicting me, and leading me to Christ. I said yes, but I didn’t tell anybody, although I did raise my hand when he asked if anyone had decided to follow Jesus, but it wasn’t till later, at a “revival” service that I told my mom that I wanted everyone to know that I wanted Jesus to be my Savior. She started crying. I thought I had done something wrong, later to discover those were tears of joy.
LANDED BY A BASS
I was landed by a bass. For Jon Bass had been fishing, not for fish, but for souls. Later I would discover that his whole family had been involved, and that since the time of playing football with Jon in the city league they had been praying for me at family meals, and “intentionally” planning on how and when to share the gospel with me. As I look back on it, there were numerous times the subject had come up with Jon and his family, but it wasn’t until the “Hot Dog Supper” that I “listened”.
What about your circle of “influence”? Your family, your extended family, your neighbors, your vocational friends, your extracurricular activity buddies, your acquaintances. Just make a list of those people, as many as you can think of, and ask yourself whether or not they are Christians. Then moving from the inside circle of influence, to the outside, intentionally pray for their souls and plan to tell them about Jesus. Be intentional. You are intentional with everything else you do.
When I go to the range for target practice, if I don’t intentionally pick a target, I won’t hit a target. Very rarely, could I just step out on a range and randomly hit a target. That’s how some Christians have been about sharing the gospel, no wonder we’re not hitting anything, we’re not aiming.
It’s true for every area of life. If I want to graduate and go to college; I had to target certain classes in order to reach my goal. If I want to succeed in business, I have to target my customer or I will not be successful. In fact, I had to “target” my wife before she became my wife. You get the drift. We need to be more intentional about sharing Christ.
Sometimes it’s good to be a target, when you’re a target of love and compassion. That’s what I was to Jon and his family. They cared enough to risk their relationship with me in order to share with me the best “news” I’ve ever received... about Jesus and His love.
Who is it that you know that God loves and they haven’t ever heard about it? Maybe you could tell them? Maybe you could “intentionally” go fishing...just like Jon. He caught me with a “hot dog” and the Lord did the rest. Just throw out the lines and leave the results to the Lord.
Yep, I was landed by a Bass, best day of my life.