Some who talked fishing are those who never really fish. I met such a man once long ago. We were in Northern Ontario and I was fishing for trout and caught lots, but all under size and taken from a stream no wider than the width of a closet. When the man heard about it, he told me how he longed for trout large enough to fill a frying pan and that one day he would make his fishing dream a reality.
You hear about stories from Christians who plan one day to fish for men’s souls. Much like the story I am about to tell you. It is a parable that takes place far too often in public meeting places we call churches.
Once a group of people would meet for the purpose of catching souls. They talked about it, and even had weekly meetings to discuss matters related to finding souls for Christ. They wanted to become fishers of men, just like the kind that Jesus spoke about over two thousand years ago. So these meetings happened weekly but very few actually went out to fish for men’s souls. They felt they were not ready so they hired a scholar to come in to teach them how to fish, even afterwards disagreements erupted over just how it was to be done. Yet, no real activity outside of their meetings ever did lead any to land souls for Christ. They tried week long crusades from someone refined in the art of soul winning. It turned out many came and heard the gospel but did not stay very long. Then a radical idea reached their ears that if souls were to be caught that they would need to do it themselves. This seemed improbable since by now they were too busy with the inside work of maintenance of the hall, and simply coming to Church took up their remaining time; to actually spend time with souls by giving them the gospel seemed a very hard thing to do too. They imagined that they had done enough already, with all the preparation and work around the building, and even giving monies to the maintenance of it and all; this seemed too time consuming and demanding to actually have to go out and interests others in the gospel. Then one day they read the book in the pew, which was their manual in all things pertaining to life, that gave instructions how and why they are to fish for souls. They learned that following Jesus meant that they were expected to seek souls for Him. Much like if you never try to catch fish — you have no right to call yourself a fisherman — if you aren’t fishing you are not following Jesus and not a disciple of His. It seemed after that they rearranged their priorities. (Loosely based on a parable by David O. Dykes)