Centered, Day 2
By Jason Brown, from the book Centered: Trading Your Plans for a Life That Matters
My wife and I needed a greenhouse to start seedlings in winter and, in the long run, save some of what little money we had. Greenhouses are expensive. The kind of greenhouse I needed started at $20,000. We had only $2,000 to spend. I couldn’t even buy a dilapidated, used greenhouse for that much. Imagine my shock when the athletic director at a nearby middle school gave me a greenhouse that sat unused in his backyard. His wife wanted it gone.
This greenhouse, built by a previous owner, was a state-of-the-art commercial-grade $100,000 structure—a combination of everything I needed, everything I wanted, and some things I’d never dreamed of. Think about it: If my fortune had been left intact, I would’ve just bought a cheaper greenhouse.
Jesus and Peter were in Capernaum one day when Peter discovered they needed to pay a tax. Jesus asked Peter how much the tax was, and then commanded Peter to go down to the sea and cast his line out. “Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel,” Jesus said. “Take that and give it to [the tax collectors] for me and for yourself.”
This is almost a throwaway little miracle. Jesus seems so nonchalant about it, like finding money in a fish’s mouth happened every day. But if you look at it from Peter’s perspective, the miracle is mind-blowing. He had been a fisherman all his life. He’d probably caught thousands upon thousands of fish in his career—maybe millions. I bet he’d never found money in a fish’s mouth before. But there it is, just like Jesus told him.
If Peter were rich, would that miracle have taken place? Wouldn’t he just have taken a shekel right out of his own bank account? If Peter’s pockets were heavy with coins, would he ever have had a chance to be amazed?
But Peter didn’t have a shekel. He needed a miracle. He needed God to help him out, because he had no other choice.
Dear God, I need a “greenhouse miracle” right now. I am dependent on You for everything, because I have no other choice, and because I trust you to meet my every need. Please meet this need in Your perfect way.
After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?”
“From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”Matt. 17:24-27
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!Luke 12:22-28
Centered: Trading Your Plans for a Life That Matters
By Jason Brown with Paul Asay / WaterBrook Press