Matthew 17:24-25 – After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma 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 sons or from others?” NIV
This is a strange question. Each Jewish male was supposed to pay the Temple Tax. Even though Jesus had few earthly possessions, He was supposed to pay it as were His followers. Peter told the collectors that Jesus paid the tax and then went to talk with Jesus about the situation. Perhaps Peter’s first question to Jesus would be: “Where are we going to get the money to pay the tax?” Continue reading
Matthew 6:28-30 – “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? NIV
Again we are dealing with the passage in the Sermon on the Mount about what we tend to worry. Jesus tells his listeners not to worry about food and clothing. These are basic needs which much of the world has trouble getting. When many Americans hear this question, we think that Jesus is talking about styles and what’s in fashion. So we tend to hear, “Why worry about being in style.” While that may be a great question for some of us who have lots of clothes, there are people who feel fortunate to have one or two changes of clothing.
There are lots of children who are continually growing and whose parents have difficulty keeping them in clothes. There are foster children who have all their clothes in plastic suitcase (garbage bag). There are people in the third world who have the clothes on their back. Jesus’ question to His original listeners was probably addressed to people similar to the people above rather than people like many of us who have lots to wear… stylish or not. They did worry about what they would eat and if they would have enough clothes to keep warm. Jesus’ focus here is to encourage them to trust their Heavenly Father for their provision. We would all do well to consider God as our source, and live life from that perspective. We often consider many other things as our source: our abilities, government, and possibly other people or communities that we know. After asking the questions, Jesus goes on to say:
Matthew 6:31-36 – So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NIV
I have discovered that when I focus on seeking His kingdom first, I have what I need and many times what I want. However, it’s not always easy to do.