“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” – Mark 1:17
Now it came to pass that a group existed that called themselves fishermen. 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 that 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 to be the primary task of the fisherman. These fishermen built large beautiful buildings for local fishing headquarters. The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and that everyone should fish. However, one thing they did not do… they did not fish.
In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. A board was formed by those who had great vision and courage to speak about fishing and to promote fishing in far away streams and lakes, where many fish of different colors lived. Also, the board hired staff and appointed committees and held many meetings to decide what new streams should be considered. But the board, 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, the psychological reaction of fish as well as how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not fish, they only taught 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 encourage meetings to talk about fishing.
Seminars, conferences and jubilees were also established to schedule special speakers on the subject of fishing. After one stirring seminar on the “Necessity of Fishing,” two young fellows left the meeting and went fishing. The next day, the first fellow reported he had caught a hundred fish! It turned out to be just a “fish story.” The other young man actually did catch two outstanding fish and 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 fishing in order to have time to tell the experiences to all other fishermen. He was also placed on the fishermen’s board as a person having considerable experience.
Now it is 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. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their call to fish and their fishermen’s clubs. They even wondered about those who felt it was of little use to attend meetings and 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 don’t fish were not really fishermen, no matter how much they claim to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if year after year he never catches a fish? Is one following if he is not fishing? *
This modern parable, though at times humorous, should be a constant reminder to us not to be fishers of men in name only. Mighty Denver Church, let me commend you as “fishers of men” in name and in deed. God has been glorified over the last year through your efforts to seek and save the lost (John 15:8 and Luke 19:10). Encouragingly, since our arrival in 2013, the Lord has added 46 to our number! Indeed the harvest is plentiful. And to God be all the glory!