“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” -Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie
I heard that proverb many years ago. It was true then and continues to be true today. But, if I were to add on to it, I would change it to the following:
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to teach others to fish, make his life worth living.
There are four basic categories of human experience:
- Those who depend on others to live (the man who receives the fish)
- Those who provide for themselves (the man who fishes)
- Those who make an impact beyond themselves (the man who teaches others to fish)
- Those who make an impact FAR beyond themselves (the man who teaches others to teach others how to fish)
All of us are on a quest for significance in life. We want to know that our time spent on earth wasn’t for nothing. We want to know that we did something during this lifetime that outlasts the amount of time that we exist on the planet.
For this to be true, we must live our lives beyond ourselves. Only the people in categories 3 or 4 above are living life in such a way that their impact will far outlast themselves.
This is how the Apostle Paul called Timothy to live. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul says, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”
Paul was a category 4 person. Paul challenged Timothy to be a category 4 type of person.
I personally believe that the closer we get to category 4 in our lives (and at the very least category 3), the more we will feel like our lives were significant while living on this planet.
What type of life are you living?