Sometimes we promise more that our friends want to deliver.
“Of course he’ll buy you supper.”
“Of course we can help you move next Tuesday.”
“Of course he likes t-shirts with funny sayings.”
“Of course he pays the temple tax.”
The temple tax?
Yes. Everyone over 20 in Israel was counted. When they were counted, they paid a tax, a ransom for their lives. This money was used to pay for temple operations.
God told Moses how it worked.
One day a tax collector asked Peter whether Jesus paid this tax. Peter said, “of course.”
Peter never stopped to think about whether Jesus ought to. He never stopped to think, “Wait, he keeps saying that he’s God, why would God have to pay temple tax? That would be like paying to walk in and out of your own home.”
Jesus calls Peter on it. He explains why he shouldn’t have to pay the tax. He tells Peter where he will find a coin to pay the tax for both Peter and Jesus. He sends Peter fishing.
Just because Jesus rescues Peter, however, doesn’t mean that he approves of what Peter did. He may just want to make life simpler for the tax collectors, people he demonstrated care for.
We act like Peter.
Do we say, “Of course God will do that,” without thinking about the fact that God may not want to. There may be consequences we don’t know about. There may be issues we haven’t seen. God may be unwilling to do the thing that seems so obvious to us.
There are times that we need to stop talking and listen. There are times, when asked a question, we must learn to say, “God, what do you think?”
There are times when we shouldn’t depend on coins in fishes’ mouths.