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.
Week after week, month after month, and year after year those 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. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.
Continually they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. Further they said, “The fishing industry exists by fishing as fire exists by burning.” They loved slogans such as “Fishing is the task of every fisherman,” “Every fisherman is a fisher,” and “A fisherman’s outpost for every fisherman’s club.”
They sponsored special meetings called “Fisherman’s Campaigns” and “The Month for Fishermen to Fish.” They sponsored costly nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss fishing and to promote fishing and hear about all the ways of fishing such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls, and whether any new bait was discovered.
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.
In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. All the fishermen seemed to agree that what is needed is a board which could challenge fishermen to be faithful in fishing.
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 faraway 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.
Large, elaborate, and expensive training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, the psychological reactions of fish, and how to approach and feed fish.
Those who taught had doctorates in fishology, but there was one problem; teachers did not fish, they only taught fishing. Year after year, after tedious training, many were graduated and were given fishing licenses. They were sent to do full-time fishing, some to distant waters which were filled with fish.
Some spent much study and travel to learn the history of fishing and to see faraway places where the founding fathers did great fishing in the centuries past. They praised the faithful fishermen of years before who handed down the idea of fishing.
Further, the fishermen built large printing houses to publish fishing guides. Presses were kept busy day and night to produce materials solely devoted to fishing methods, equipment, and programs to arrange and to encourage meetings to talk about fishing.
A speakers’ bureau was also provided to schedule special speakers on the subject of fishing. Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish but like the fishermen back home, they never fished. Like the fishermen back home, they engaged themselves in all kinds of other occupations. They built power plants to pump water for fish and tractors to plow new waterways. They made all kinds of equipment to travel here and there to look at fish hatcheries.
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. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were, was enough.
After one stirring meeting on “The Necessity for Fishing,” one 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 Fisherman’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 fisherman’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished.
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?
Is one truly following if he isn’t fishing?
This parable should challenge each one of us. There are reasons why the church has gone to sleep on their watch, derelict in their duty, and lost the purpose for which Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”. When Jesus gave the Great Commission in Mark 16:15 saying, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”, he wasn’t just speaking to 12 men, He was speaking to every believer or follower.
If we truly have a heart after God, we should hunger for the heart of God. The Jesus of the Bible indicated by these words, if you were following Him, you would become fishers of men because He would make you one. There are other Jesus’s being preached today with another Gospel. This is something Paul warned us of in the II Corinthians Chapter 11. I encourage you to read “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up” for a better understanding regarding this topic.
The real Jesus said there were requirements and qualifications given to a man or woman in order to follow Him just as there are qualifications and requirements given to each one of us when we get married and create a blood covenant and lifetime commitment. For a better understanding regarding this topic, please read “Til Death do us Part”.
There is a missing ingredient in most “believer’s” lives today and many live and die without ever realizing it. It’s hard to realize something is missing if we’ve never had it to miss nor seen it in the lives of others. What is that missing ingredient? Read “The Fireplace of God” and find out.
Finally, if you truly want to go fishing or understand why you aren’t, I encourage you to read “Fishing Anyone?”
The Holy Spirit is speaking to many of us today in these last days to become the people so many of us have failed to become. Jesus said, For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). If He lives His life in and through the lives of His followers, the follower will have the same purpose and passion as Him. This is how we know if we are truly following the “Master Fisherman”.
There is a great end time harvest to be reaped. Satan is fishing for the souls of man too. If we do nothing to assist the Lord of the harvest, we will assist the enemy’s harvest of souls. The choice is ours to make. Who we will assist?
Story amended from the original version of “The Parable of the Fishless Fishermen” by John M. Drescher