Day 124: May 4, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 17:24-27 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

“But, so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and take the first fish that you catch. When you open its mouth you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for Me and you.”

—Matthew 17:27

Fishing for Tax Money
by Kay DeKalb Smith,

You’re reading this devotional on May 4, so I can only assume that you paid your taxes approximately three weeks ago. Have you ever wondered if so-and-so paid their taxes? 

In the news this past week, I heard there are quite a number of people who work in governmental positions who haven't paid their taxes. How can that be?

I guess it must be a common thing to wonder if others pay their share of taxes. I'll admit it’s crossed my mind around April 15 each year.

And so it was for Jesus. The Temple tax collectors (early IRS prototypes) asked Peter, "Hey Pete, does your Teacher pay the Temple Tax?" Peter answered with a resounding, "Yes, He does."

Peter went into the house and Jesus began by asking Peter a question. (By now Peter had surely learned that Jesus loved to ask questions.)

"Do kings tax their own people or the people they conquer?" Jesus asked.

Peter answered, "The latter—the people they’ve conquered."

“Well then,” Jesus said, "the citizens are free! And we don't want to offend them, so go fishing!”

What? Go fish? Is that what Jesus said? Sort of. He told Peter to go to the lake and throw in a line (sounds like fishing to me). Peter obeyed, doing exactly what Jesus said.

Now I grew up fishing with my Dad. I'm telling you, when you go fishing, you never know what you’re going to catch!

On one such fishing trip last fall, I landed a ball cap full of barnacles. And on my second catch, I wrestled a gigantic, huge, ever-flowing, stress-flex GARBAGE BAG!

The interesting thing about this biblical account is that Jesus knew exactly what Peter would catch! He told Peter to take the first fish, open its mouth, and he’d find a large silver coin.

Jesus said, “Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

I'm telling you, my dad is a Master Fisherman, but he's never been able to predict what or if we’re going to catch anything. This miraculous feat must have, no doubt, stunned Peter. However, because Jesus was the Creator of the fish, he could do anything He chose to do!

If I’d been Peter, I would’ve thought, "How does Jesus think of these things? Lord, You are AMAZING!"

Reflection Questions

  1. Have you paid your taxes? Did you willingly give what was asked of you?
  2. Have you ever been surprised while fishing? What was something unexpected you caught?
  3. Peter was caught in the act of obedience. He did exactly what Jesus told him to do. Are you guilty of doing the same? Are you obedient to the voice of Christ in your life? Are you actively doing what He tells you to do each day?
  4. Try to make a practice of listening to the voice of God. What does God expect from you today?

About the Author

Kay DeKalb Smith
» Blog/Website

Kay DeKalb Smith has been called the "Carol Burnett of Christian Entertainment." Her infectious laughter and insights have honored God and touched hearts for a lifetime. As a singer, speaker, and humorist, she's spanned the globe sharing the joy of Christ. A former Opryland USA Performer, Kay has sung in two nationally-televised Billy Graham Crusades and has been on the cover of HomeLife magazine three times. She and husband Ed have been Brentwood Baptist members for four years. Ed is the President of Williamson College. Both of the Smiths are committed to pouring their lives into others for Christ's sake.