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The Banker and The Fisherman

February 2, 2019

 

Most missionaries find it difficult to return to their home country after having lived and served for years on the mission field. Spending time, absorbing another culture, acquiring another language and seeing life through the eyes of those who are very different from you have a way of making you evaluate life. The following story is my inspiration to slow down, reevaluate and make some honest assessments about how I want to live my life. The story isn’t new and you can find various versions of it floating around on the interwebs. Having lived full-time in Mexico for over 16 years I have a deep appreciation for the Mexican culture and the enormous value that family has for the Mexican people. The story goes something like this:

 

Finally finding time for a brief vacation, an investment banker found himself standing at the end of a pier in a small coastal Mexican village watching a small dinghy with just one fisherman slowly rowing ashore. As the boat came alongside the pier the banker noticed several large fish inside. Wrapping up his phone conversation, the banker pointed with his phone to the fish in the boat and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them.

 

The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.” The banker asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more. The Mexican replied that he had enough to feed his family. The banker then asked, “So what do you do with the rest of your time?”

 

The Mexican fisherman replied, “I get out of bed when I’m rested, I might fish a little, I play with my children, I take a siesta with my wife then I might walk into town in the evening and play guitar with my friends.” The banker snorted, “I have a business MBA - let me help you. You should spend more time fishing, selling your fish and marketing your product. With your profit you should buy a bigger boat and more fishing gear. Fish more and sell more. With the proceeds, you could buy another boat and hire fisherman to work for you. Eventually, you could have a fleet of fishing boats. Then... cut out the middleman and sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution. You’d have to relocate to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you can run your expanding fishing empire.”

 

The Mexican fisherman slowly nodded as the banker grew more excited, “But señor, how long will all that take?” “Maybe 15-20 years”, the banker replied. “And then what?” asked the fisherman.

 

“That’s the best part!” laughed the banker. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO, sell your company stock to the public and walk away with millions!”

 

“Millions... o.k., what then?”

 

Very serious now, the banker said, “Then you would retire.  You could get out of bed when you’re rested, have time to fish a little, play with your children, take a siesta with your wife, walk into town in the evening and play guitar with your amigos.”

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