Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Something's Fishy


It had been a wonderful walk. One of the turns took me alongside the neighborhood bank. As I passed its drive-through service machines, I noticed something in leaves piled at a gutter in the road.
Immediately I recognized it: money! And not just any amount of money.
There lay a $100 bill.  
The bank was closed, and no one was in sight, so I quickly bent down and plucked the bill from where it rested in the leaves.
I stepped up my pace, celebrating throughout the rest of my walk.
When I got home, I told my wife about the find. Then I shared the information with my two children. We all looked at the bill and marveled in my good fortune.
Then the trouble began.
Each of us had plans for spending that $100 bill. The children each wanted an extra hundred from their parents to spend on something. My wife spent it on something else. And I spent it as well.
In total, we spent that $100 six times.
Finding that money and sharing the news about it led to undisciplined spending. Ultimately it cost us $500.
Matthew 17 includes a story of when Jesus and the disciples are in Capernaum. Someone asks Peter if Jesus pays the temple tax.
Of course, Peter says.
Later, Jesus asks Peter: Who really pays taxes to the kings — people who are strangers or the children? Peter responds that strangers are the ones who pay. Jesus affirms that the children are free.
Jesus instructs Peter to take a fishing rod, go to the lake, and keep the first fish he catches. In the mouth of that fish will be a gold coin, Jesus explains, enough to pay the taxes for the two of them.
We don’t know the end of this story. The implication is that Peter did what Jesus said to do. He cast a fishing line, not his usual net, into the lake. He caught a fish, discovered the coin in its mouth, and paid the taxes with the newly found money.
God provided the resources for the needs of his children.
Today, money seems relatively easy to find. Contained in plastic cards, it can be accessed simply by inserting such a card into all kinds of machines.
It is easier to get money than to use money wisely.
Perhaps a hidden miracle in the Bible story is that Peter used his newly discovered gold coin for the intended purpose.
God still provides for the needs of God’s children. How are you using the resources that you have been provided?
If you have not already done so, make a list of everything you own and everything you owe. Subtract what you owe from what you own. Each month, write down what you expect to receive and what you expect to spend. Subtract expenses from income.
Create a spending plan that makes sure the resources you have will be used to honor God, help others, and meet your basic needs.


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