Do you know what I hate? I hate that when Peter needed money to pay his bills, (in this case, the Temple tax), that he did not have the money.

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?” 25 “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?” 26 “From others,” Peter answered, “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him.

Matt 17:24-26

It wasn’t much. A drachma was probably about $200 today. We know they didn’t have the money because Peter went to Christ when he was being hounded about the tax and asked him what to do. Both Peter’s concern and the fact that Jesus did not pull out his wallet tell me that they were broke.

Implied principle #1:

It is the norm for people in the service of God to struggle with money.

Another thing a part of me hates is this miracle:

“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. 17:27

Why do I hate this miracle? Well, because here you have God incarnate, the man who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, supplying money supernaturally. It’s like if your best friend was Elon Musk and you came to him with money issues. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet and started thumbing through a massive wad of hundreds. The excitement for Peter may have been great. (Please allow for my embellishment as I think it is true to the principles of this story.) Here is what I would have thought: “Why only four? Why not 100 or 1000? If he would do something like this, I can just get to God’s business of helping people, spreading the knowledge of Christ.” However, this miracle did not do much from that perspective. It was simply enough money to get through that day. Not the year, not the month, not even the week. It was only enough for the day! (Really, just that one bill).

Implied principle #2:

God wants us to rely on him on a daily basis (remember, “give us this DAY our DAILY bread”?) and does not normally make us too comfortable in long-term provisions.

Some of you have seen what has been going on in the stock market with Game Stop, AMC, Blackberry, and the like. Everyday normal traders have been making millions out of a few thousands. You may be like me and have a few dollars in the stock market. You are always trying to research which stock has the most potential to yield the greatest profit. Its about 50% skill and 50% luck. Since I don’t have much skill, I have to rely on luck. I talk to God about it every once in a while saying, “Which stock Lord? You know you can direct me to the right one and make my life a whole lot easier.” I make such arguments and they normally don’t produce much dividend (pardon the pun). In fact, I sometimes joke and tell people if they want to make money, do the exact opposite as me. Believe it or not, but I had a lot of money in AMC (well, a lot for me). I took my money out and it shot up 800%!” It seems like God does not like to make me comfortable.

God is a lamp unto our feet, not a spotlight down the road. “One step at a time,” he says. “We will deal with the next step once we get there.”

This blog applies to a lot more than just money. You may hate it, as I do. But God has good reason for not making us too comfortable. We don’t know the future. We don’t know the day of our death, we don’t know if our kids will follow him, we don’t know what job we should take, home we should buy, person we should marry, and a thousand other things. In all these things we have our daily briefings, and that is it.

“God will never give you more than you can handle” is not in the Bible. However, I do think “God will never give you more (money) than you can handle” is a general truth for which we should be eternally grateful. I imagine he would not see me (and some of you) if he gave us too far beyond our needs of the day.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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