Parable of the Fishless Fishermen

(author unknown)

Now it came to pass that a group existed who
called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were
many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the
whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes
filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Year after year these who called themselves
fishermen met in meetings and talked about their
call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they
might go about fishing.

Continually they searched for new and better
definitions of fishing. They sponsored costly
nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss
fishing and to promote fishing and hear about all
the ways of fishing.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings
called "Fishing Headquarters." The plea was that
everyone should be a fisherman and every
fisherman should fish. One thing they didn't do,
however; they didn't fish.

They organized a board to send out fishermen to
where there were many fish. The board was
formed by those who had the great vision and
courage to speak about fishing, to define fishing,
and to promote the idea of fishing in far-away
streams and lakes where many other fish of
different colors lived.

Also the board hired staffs and appointed
committees and held many meetings to define
fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new
streams should be thought about. But the staff
and committee members did not fish.

Expensive training centers were built to teach
fishermen how to fish. Those who taught had
doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not
fish. They only taught fishing. Year after year,
graduates were sent to do full-time fishing, some
to distant waters filled with fish.

Further, the fishermen built large printing houses
to publish fishing guides. A speaker's bureau was
also provided to schedule special speakers on the
subject of fishing.

Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded,
and were sent to fish. But like the fishermen back
home, they never fished.

Some also said they wanted to be part of the
fishing party, but they felt called to furnish fishing
equipment. Others felt their job was to relate to
the fish in a good way so the fish would know the
difference between good and bad fishermen.

After one stirring meeting on "The Necessity for
Fishing," a young fellow left the meeting and went
fishing. The next day he reported he had caught
two outstanding fish. He was honored for his
excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big
meetings possible to tell how he did it.

So he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell
about the experience to the other fishermen. He
was also placed on the Fishermen's General Board
as a person having considerable experience.

Now it's true that many of the fishermen sacrificed
and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some
lived near the water and bore the smell of dead
fish every day. They received the ridicule of some
who made fun of their fishermen's clubs and the
fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never

They wondered about those who felt it was of
little use to attend the weekly meetings to talk
about fishing. After all, were they not following
the Master who said, "Follow me, and I will make
you fishers of men?

Imagine how hurt some were when one day a
person suggested that those who didn't catch fish
were really not fishermen, no matter how much
they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a
person a fisherman if year after year he never
catches a fish?