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A group existed who called themselves fisherman. There were many fish in the waters around. In truth, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

It came to pass that week after week, month after month, and year after year, those who called themselves fishermen met in meetings; they talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. They carefully analyzed what fishing meant, urged fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fisherman.

These same fishermen built large, beautiful buildings for local fishing headquarters. Their plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and that every fisherman should fish.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fisherman to other places where there were many fish. 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 fish of different colors swam.

Furthermore, the board hired staff and appointed committees and held many meetings to issue statements on fishing, to agree on what new streams should be thought about. Large, elaborate and expensive training centers were built with the original and primary purpose of teaching fisherman how to fish.

Over the years, courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, how to recognize different fish, the psychological reactions of fish, the various backgrounds of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in "fishiology"

Further, the fisherman built large printing houses to publish fishing guides, Presses were kept busy day and night to produce materials solely devoted to fishing methods and equipment. Meetings were arranged to talk about fishing. An expert speaker's bureau was also provided to schedule special speakers on the subject of fishing.

Notwithstanding all this activity, it was noted that fisherman themselves did not fish: they pleaded for fishing. The boards did not fish: they planned for fishing. The teachers of fishiology did not fish. They explained fishing. The expert speakers did not fish. They preached about fishing.

However, after one stirring address on"The Necessity of Fishing" one young man left the meeting and went fishing. The next day he reported that he had caught two outstanding fish. He was honoured for his excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big meetings possible to tell how he had done it. In fact he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell about the experience to the other fisherman. He was also placed on the Fisherman's General Board as a person having considerable experience.

Now many of the fishermen made sacrifices and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Few were well paid for their service on boards and training centers. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish. They received the ridicule of some that made fun of their fisherman's clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fisherman, yet never fished. They had doubts about those who felt it was of little use to attend and talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the one who said: "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt 4:19)

It came about that one day someone made the outlandish suggestion that those who did not fish were not actually fishermen - - no matter how much they claimed to be. Someone actually asked: "Is a person a fisherman if year after year he never catches (or even tries to catch) a fish? If he is not fishing, can he be following?"

Those who called themselves fishermen, and their boards and committees and training centers and speakers, were all very hurt by that question.

What is your excuse for not fishing?

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