The Monkey Serves the Fish

monkey fish

I am being featured on Laura Parker’s blog, Life Overseas on Thursday and Friday. Check here for the interview and a new guest post

Along the missions and cross-cultural line of thought, I posted Monday on Duane Elmer’s book, Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility, looking at the process of serving while not putting yourself in the place of superiority. Read about it HERE

With this, today I want to share a short story from Elmer’s book. This illustrates what we so often do in missions, and really in all of ministry when people are different than ourselves. 

Enjoy “The Monkey “Serves” the Fish” parable retold from Elmer’s book, Cross-Cultural Servanthood.


A typhoon had temporarily stranded a monkey on an island. In a secure, protected place on the shore, while waiting for the raging waters to recede, he spotted a fish swimming against the current.

It seemed to the monkey that the fish was struggling and in need of assistance. Being of kind heart, the monkey resolved to help the fish.

monkey fish A tree precariously dangled over the very spot where the fish seemed to be struggling. At considerable risk to himself, the monkey moved far out on a limb of a tree, reached down, and snatched the fish from the threatening waters.

Immediately, scurrying back to the safety of his shelter, he carefully laid the fish on dry ground. For a few moments, the fish showed excitement but soon settled into a peaceful rest.

Joy and satisfaction swelled inside the monkey. He had successfully helped another creature

How many times do we assume to know what is best for others, when in fact it may not be?

How can this parable challenge the communication in our marriages, our work places, as well as cross-culturally?

Story taken from Elmer’s book. He credits Ann Templeton Brownlee with the parable
Photo by motnworb on Creative Commons by Flickr