I'm almost certain you've heard this “proverb”
Give a man a fish, you'll feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime.
The basic idea is that it's more worthwhile to provide training and resources for those in need than to simply give a handout. Of course, like many “proverbs,” it's not exactly perfect. There's a time and a place for training and resourcing. There's also a time and a place for aid. And I don't want to discount either of those.
But there's another step beyond just giving a man a fish or teaching a man to fish. Because the analogy only addresses the needs of a single person. What about a community of people?
Following the metaphor, can you give a community a fish? Maybe.
Can you teach a community to fish? Possibly?
But what if we could take it a step further? What if we could invest in a way that creates generational health, abundance, and interdependency?
Not dependency on an outsider. Not dependency on a government. Not dependency on an organization. But interdependence with each other for mutual blessing.
That's the kind of thing Rich Frazer was talking about when he shared this perspective on leadership training:
Don't just teach a man to fish.
Why not teach a man to teach a man to fish?
– Rich Frazer
That's the next step of what Christ did for us. Metaphorically, he gave us a fish. Then He taught us to fish. Then He taught us to teach others to fish.
That's how we see redemption play out
- We come to Christ.
- We are transformed.
- We bring others to Christ.
- We see them transformed.
- We teach them to bring others to Christ.
Whether it's leadership, poverty, or discipleship, the principle applies. Don't just give a man (or a woman) a fish. Don't just teach them to fish. Do all of that but then take it a step further and teach them to teach others to fish.