A friend of mine said he was walking along a fairly secluded beach in Southern California when he was on vacation recently. The early morning air was cool, the waves broke just in front of him and splashed up on his legs from time to time and he just enjoyed the quiet of it all as he walked.
After walking a while he saw group of surfers up ahead, so he stopped to watch them. He had never surfed, but he found their athletic moves to be fascinating as they paddled out, waited for just the right swell and then turned their boards suddenly and tried to ride the wave back to shore. Before they got all the way in, they slid off and turned around to paddle out again and start all over.
As he stood there watching, someone startled him from behind by saying hello. He turned around to see a young man standing there in a fancy wet suit holding a beautiful, freshly waxed surf board, and he returned the hello.
“Those guys are pretty good out there,” my friend said, as he looked at the young man.
The young man smiled and nodded,” I guess so. Actually one of those guys is my girl friend; another one is my sister.”
“Sorry,” my friend said. “Are any of them guys?”
“Yeah, the rest are.” The young man looked out at the surfers and sighed. “I sort of hang out with most of them.”
When he just stood there watching the others, my friend pointed out to the waves. “Aren’t you going to join your friends? It really looks like they’re having fun.”
Shaking his head, the young man sighed and sat down on the sand cross legged, laying his board next to him. “No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t know how to swim, let alone surf.”
“You’re kidding me, aren’t you?” my friend asked. “You have all the gear, and that board must have been expensive. You even look like a surfer.”
The young man looked up at my friend. “Thanks. That’s what I wanted to hear,” the young man said. “See, I want to be a surfer; I just don’t want to surf.”
That story says a lot. How many of us want to be something, but we just don’t want to do it? I was like that for a long time about writing. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time on the sidelines reading other people’s books, but I just didn’t sit down and write. I have another friend who says he’s always wanted to run a marathon, but the farthest he has ever run is three miles.
No matter what it is, it takes more than wanting to be something to achieve it; you have to do it. If you want to be a surfer, you have to take your board out to the waves. If you want to write a book, you have to sit down and write the first page. To run 26 miles, you have to start by running the first five.
In short, you have to do, not just wish. Carrying a Bible around doesn’t make you a Christian any more than carrying a surf board makes you a surfer. You have to open it and get wet.