Inspiration: When God Pays Taxes

My husband has been preaching a “Gone Fishing” series highlighting the teachings Jesus illustrated with fishing. Many of the situations involve the Apostle Peter, who was a fisherman by trade and who became a “fisher of men” after following Christ.

Gone Fishing: When God Pays Taxes | A Chat Over Coffee

Gone Fishing: When God Pays Taxes | A Chat Over Coffee

In Matthew 17:24-27 we read about a time when God paid taxes. The temple tax was collected as a special offering to honor God and his place of worship. Even though Jesus is God, he still paid the temple tax to avoid offense and as a lesson for Peter. Jesus provided the money for his tax and Peter’s by sending Peter fishing. Jesus told him that the first fish he caught would have a coin in its mouth that would be enough for their taxes.

One commentator on this passage pointed out there other ways Jesus could have handled the situation. Jesus could have had Peter cast his line and pull up a bag of money. But Jesus didn’t do that. He worked through what Peter was trained to do, catch fish.

Jay pointed out that God often accomplishes his will in our lives by working through what we can already do, and God has us develop skills for more than our own benefit. Our skills allow us to serve God and others as a means of sharing the good news.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Many Christians spend years attending church and studying the Bible but find themselves paralyzed when asked to use their knowledge to serve or teach others. We don’t have to know everything to share what we do know. We don’t have to be skilled in all areas to bless others with the talents we do possess. Jesus didn’t ask Peter to learn a new trade or become a great scholar; he asked Peter to do what he knew how to do, to go fishing.

Some Christians think they can’t serve because they are trying to meet their own needs. Sometimes they are too busy to have time to serve. Sometimes they think they are too poor to have anything to share. They forget that God has promised to provide for our needs.

If God were selfish (He isn’t, but let’s just pretend for a moment that he is.), it would still be in his interest to provide for your needs. Why? Because he has work for you to do! How do I know he has work for you to do? Because you’re still alive! You are here for a reason. He has a job for you to do. And he’ll provide for your needs so you can do it.

And our God, who is not selfish but generous, wants to remind you that you’re part of his family. I know that “Family” is a dirty word for some people. But God doesn’t want to be a distant, absent father who doesn’t care or get involved in your life. He wants to be what a father should be…present, caring, teaching, even disciplining for your good.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 1:12-13 (NIV)

So if you’ve been holding back from some area of service because you think you’re not “whatever” enough, I hope you remember that you don’t have to do the same things others do to serve. You can be a blessing using the skills you have because your skills aren’t for you alone and God will provide for your needs as you use your skills for him. Most importantly, God wants you to be a part of his loving, growing, vibrant family. (Even when you have to pay taxes.)

Have you ever been afraid to serve? How did you handle it?

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4 responses to “Inspiration: When God Pays Taxes

  1. I’ll have to think about that one… service is pretty much ingrained in us from birth 🙂 I think I’ve helped/served/taken a turn in just about every area in church and or school. Not saying I was always great at it but I tried my best. New thing…Friday night I get to be a judge for the Derby cars before their race on Saturday.


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