Saturday, August 11, 2007


During my current teaching series, "The Gospel According to GSPN" I brought a message on "fishing tips for the Master." I didn't have room/time to include this parable. I wrote this parable several years ago based upon something I read in "Youth Specialties" and from a message by Darrell Robinson.
Once there was a group of people called the Fishing Society. They gathered every week to talk about the importance of fishing but they never fished. They said they wanted fish, so they decided to build a big new aquarium. They pooled their money (no pun intended) and built a sparkling new meeting hall they named “The Aquarium Center.” They employed a scholar to teach them from the Fishing Manual. Each week they gathered in their beautiful building and recited portions of the Fishing Manual. Their fishing scholar explained some of the mysteries of the Fishing Manual. The meetings ended with the scholar dramatically casting a net in the large tank in the center of the Aquarium Center. The members were all hopeful that some fish would be caught. None were ever caught, of course, because there were no fish in the tank.
This led to disagreement among the members of the Fishing Society. Why didn’t fish come to their beautiful aquarium center? Some said, specialization was the answer so they built smaller tanks specially designed for fish of all ages and sizes. Still, no fish. Some blamed the problem on the lack of attendance of members of the Fishing Society. So, they conducted week-long fishing crusades. They constantly talked about new and better methods of fishing. They bought some of the finest fishing equipment on the market. The one thing they didn’t do, however, was to fish.
They even elected numerous committees to operate the Fishing Society more efficiently. One group kept busy by regulating the water in the Aquarium. Others worked to keep the glass walls polished; others sorted and arranged the expensive fishing gear.
One young man in their group had a radical idea. He said if fish were to be caught, they would have to go out to the ocean and lakes and catch them. Some people were alarmed at such a suggestion. The young man actually went out and tried fishing. To everyone’s amazement, he came back with a couple of fine fish. He was such a sensation he was given the title “Doctor of Fishology” and started a school to teach other aspiring fishermen. All of this consumed so much time he had no time for fishing himself.
Then the Fishing Society sent a few brave professional fishermen to live a few blocks from the water. These were called “fishinaries.” These foreign fishinaries sent back pictures of themselves standing by the water holding their catches. They sometimes returned to the Aquarium Center and gave power point presentations of them actually catching fish. This excited the members but only for a few minutes.
Over the years, some members of the Fishing Society forgot about fishing, there was plenty to do without worrying about that. Some even suggested they change the name of their group from the Fishing Society to just “The Society.” After all, they didn’t want to offend the fish.
One day a bearded stranger appeared at their weekly meeting. This longhaired, sandaled man claimed to be the Master Fisherman. He extended hands to appeal to the fishermen to follow him out to where the fish were. Some noticed there were ugly scars in His palms, probably from fishing. He had the gall to say He was the One who started the Fishing Society. Many angrily disagreed, they had worked hard and given their money to build up their society. As the Stranger turned to leave, His final comment made some of the respectable members of the Society so angry that they stopped up their ears. He said, “If you never try to catch fish – you have no right to call yourself a fisherman. If you aren’t fishing – you aren’t following me.”
The members of the Fishing Society asked the bearded young man to leave and take his radical teaching somewhere else. After their initial discomfort, the members of the Fishing Society resumed their busy activity of maintaining their beautiful hall. As they polished away and consulted their Fishing Manual, they were glad their beautiful hall had not been built in vain, after all, it made them feel good about themselves.