Wednesday, November 18, 2009
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” Matthew 17:24-27
I have spent a great deal of my life around fish. Our next door neighbor, in the summers, would fish everyday and sell the fish in our little town. I learned to fillet fish when I was small - a child of 6 or 7. In recent years, Mark and I with our daughters have spent hours with lines in the water, standing in the surf, trying to catch fish. The joy of fishing for us is being together and passing a day together. We rarely catch anything. We often refer to children who swim well and comfortably as a fish, and I have a family full of fish. Fish are symbolic of faith and possibility.Fish are so part of who we are that our daughter Ariel and her husband had fish on the tables at their wedding this past September.
Jesus had several disciples who knew fish, who were directly connected with fish and the sea. Others were critical of Jesus and wondered about his paying his taxes. So Jesus sent his disciples, the ones most familiar with fish, to go fishing and find in their most common ways the solution for paying their taxes. Out of the fish's mouth came the coin to cover them all. All too often, when we are paced with shortfalls and are taxed beyond our means, we look for God to help us with a glitzy miracle. Instead, God is most often helping us in the midst of the most common place and familiar. It is where we truly find our blessings.
Today, I am grateful for all the familiar people and things for from them great miracles arise. I ask God today to remind me to keep my focus on the everyday so that I might know God's blessings in my life. I invite us all to give thanks for all of the everyday blessings that make our lives so full and meaningful.