A P L E A F O R F I S H I N G
by John Drescher
Is a person a fisherman if year after year he never catches any
fish? 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 these
men, 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 meant, 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 “Fishermen’s Campaigns” and “The Month for Fishermen to Fish.” They
sponsored costly nationwide and world-wide 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 was needed was a Board, which would 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 the 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 centuries past. They lauded 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
speaker’s 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 in all kinds
of other occupations. They built power plants to pump water for fish
and tractors to plough new waterways. They made all kinds of
equipment to travel here and there to look at fish hatcheries. Some
also said that they wanted to be part of the fishing party, but they
felt called to furnishing 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. 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 that 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 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
TALKING ABOUT FISHING
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 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 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?” (Mark 1:17)
Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that
those who don’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
following if he isn’t fishing?
THINK ABOUT IT! Are you fishing?