S (Scripture): Matthew 17:24
After they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn’t he?” 25 He said, “Yes.” When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tolls or taxes – from their sons or from foreigners?” 26 After he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 But so that we don’t offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four drachma coin. Take that and give it to them for me and you.”
O (Observation): At this point in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus has been shown as God’s beloved on the mountaintop transfiguration. He acknowledges that his destiny is to go, suffer, be killed, and be raised.
Knowing that God will provide for him in life and death, Jesus passes on this sentiment to Peter, the one to whom Jesus is giving the keys of the Kingdom.
The Temple Tax is to be paid by foreigners, but that would not apply to them as citizens. Jesus says that a tax would please the collectors, even if it is not required.
Jesus shows Peter that God will provide for such a thing as this. Peter is to go fishing, and the first fish he brings in, he will find money for the temple tax for him and Jesus.
God will provide.
A (Application): My wife and I have had many times in which the Lord has provided. We have made it through the birth of three children. Owned 2 homes. Graduated from 2 outstanding universities and 1 Lutheran seminary. We have traveled a little bit. We have not been hungry. We have been treated well. We have extremely supportive family.
I hesitate to list these things, when so many have so little. But then, if I don’t list them, I almost feel like I’m dishonoring God by not giving thanks. So…this is my thanks.
But the deeper issue is: what will I do about this? What will I give? What will I learn about my privileges that I enjoy? What will I accomplish in a journey of solidarity with the poor? Will my heart be ready to take the next step?
Have you asked these questions of yourself?
Where is God calling you this day?
Do you have faith that God will provide?
P (Prayer): Lord, help us not to let a lack of provision hold us back from mission and ministry. Urge us onward! Amen.