We often have questions about God and money. How did Jesus feel about money and meeting our obligations?
When Jesus and his disciples came into Capernaum, the people who received tribute money came to Peter and asked him if his Master paid tribute. Peter affirmed that he did. As they started to go into the house, Jesus stopped Peter and told him, “lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee” (Matthew 17:24-27).
While making a financial decision, this passage came to mind and it was as if the Lord was telling me. “Stop worrying about money. I can get money from a fish if you need it, but I need you to be in my service.”
There are things the Lord needs us to do. He needs tongues to share His truth and hands to do His work. Sometimes objects are required for you to be able to serve Him. And when that is the case, He most definitely will provide. God can easily manipulate things to bring you the resources you need. Just as He could tell Peter exactly where to go, where to cast his hook, and which fish to look inside, He can tell us where to go and what to do to find the things we need.
Each of us has been blessed with talents and resource that the Lord expects us to consecrate to building up the kingdom of God on the earth. If we do this – if we put Him first and are truly His disciples, He will take care of us. In Matthew 6:26-33 the Lord told his disciples:
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
The specifics of what the Lord expects of you and what He expects of me could be very different, because each of us has varying backgrounds, talents and circumstances. But seeking first the kingdom of God and to build up righteousness on the earth means to earnestly seek truth and to use all your talents, abilities and resources to bring truth to others. How you do that and how I do that will be different because we are not the same. But the end result is a better world and more people with an eternal relationship with their Savior and their Father in Heaven.
God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways
The Lord takes care of those who serve Him. We can have faith that if we are “about our Father’s business” he will provide the resources we need – even if he has to pull them from a fish’s mouth! But we must remember that He is the one who knows where that fish is and some work may be involved to obtain it. We must counsel with the Lord in all our endeavors and ask Him for wisdom and understanding. Another passage I found helpful is Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
In my situation, the first step to an answer was to acknowledge that my understanding – which I felt was logical and right – may not be accurate – as a matter of fact, it wasn’t! Then I had to stop fretting and be grateful. I had to stop and count my blessings and be thankful that the Lord would provide an answer. I had to express gratitude for past answers and trust that He would give me counsel again.
After two weeks of prayer and a day of fasting, the answer came literally within only a few hours of when the final decision had to be made. But the answer did come and how grateful I am for it!
Take A Step Back
With that answer, I learned that the Lord was looking at a broader canvas than I was. I was like a person studying a mural with her nose stuck to the wall. I was focused in on the here and now, assuming that this current situation was the “truth” when in reality the Lord had something bigger for our family than what we could see from our myopic viewpoint. For a few moments, the Lord pulled my nose away from the canvas long enough to catch a glimpse of the big picture and how this one particular decision fit into His plan.
With that one glimpse, everything made sense and knowing His plan, made the leap of faith we had to make much simpler. It gave our family our “marching orders” for the next season of our lives and I just love it when the Lord gives “marching orders!” It’s wonderful to know what He wants to happen in your life and how what you’re doing fits into that plan. It fills you with joy and gives you faith to believe in the best and to keep persevering in spite of difficulties.
If you don’t know what your “marching orders” are for this season of your life, I would encourage you to council with the Lord and ask Him to give you a view of the big picture so that you can proceed with purpose and determination. Nothing will bolster your faith or call you to rise to your highest potential more than the purpose and determination that come from a vision of God’s plan for you. Don’t be afraid of His plan! I have never been anything other than thrilled when the Lord pulled my nose away from the canvas to see the broader perspective. It has always inspired, lifted and filled me with joy and faith, because I know that if my goals are synchronized with His, nothing is impossible!