Is it better to teach or give fish?

A debate I have seen over the years is whether it is better to give a proverbial man a fish or teach him to fish. I have seen this debate in recent days also. It comes down to arguments about how to best help someone. The arguments come out this way:

  • If all you ever do is give a man a fish, then he is fed for now, but will never be able to provide for himself. Therefore it is better to teach a man to fish.
  • If you focus on the teaching a man to fish, the man is still hungry and won’t be able to fish.



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Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.