Summary: If you want to be the best missionary, or the best representative for Christ you can be, then you need to know some things found in our text.
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 very hungry fish.
Week after week, month after month, year after year, those who called themselves fishermen met in meetings to discuss their call to fish, and how they might go about their fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always the primary task of fishermen.
They continually searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. Further, they adopted slogans like "The fishing industry exists by fishing as fire exists by burning" and "Fishing is the task of every fisherman." They sponsored special meetings called "Fishermen’s Campaigns" and "The Month for Fishermen to Fish.
These fishermen built large, beautiful expensive buildings for local fishing groups. The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do though, they didn’t fish. They met regularly; they organized local, state, and national associations to help the local fishing groups to send out fishermen to places where there were many fish. They continued to meet with great fervor and spoke about their vision and courage to speak about fishing, to promote fishing in the far regions of the world where many other varieties of fish swam. They enjoyed times to share their favorite casting techniques and all the new fishing equipment that was on the market.
Some fishermen got together and decided to build training centers where the primary purpose would be to gather men and teach them how to fish. They offered courses on the needs of the fish, the nature of the fish, where to find the fish, the psychological reactions of fish and how to approach and even feed the fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology. But the teachers didn’t fish, they only taught fishing. After tedious training, many who attended these training centers graduated and were given licenses to fish. They were sent out to do full time fishing; others went out to continue the research on fish and traveled far and wide to track the history of the fish. They lauded the faithful fishermen of years gone by for keeping fishing going.
After a stirring meeting one night on the necessity of fishing, one young man left the meeting and went fishing. The next day he reported catching two outstanding fish. He was honored for his excellent catch and was scheduled to visit all the big meetings to tell how he did it. So he quit his fishing so he would have time to tell other fishermen about his experience. Because of all this experience, he was placed on the Fisherman’s General Board of Directors. He was named in the Who’s Who Among American Fishermen.
Now some 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 others who made fun of their solitary way of life. In fact, many of those who ridiculed them called themselves fishermen and wondered about those who felt it was of little use to attend the weekly meeting to talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men?" yet, they never fished. Imagine how hurt they were when one day it was suggested that those who didn’t go fishing or never caught fish were not really fishermen, but isn’t that true? Is a person really a fisherman if he never goes fishing?(1)