Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Death and Taxes

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. 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 17:22-27

A few years ago, many of us would not have imagined the challenges we face with the economy, employment and in our personal and professional circumstances. The world has changed and many of us are in dire straits now. There is lots of anxiety and nothing seems to be certain. The only thing certain for some of us these days are death and taxes.

Jesus talks with his disciples to prepare them for what is to come although they don't want to hear it. None of us like to have the frank discussions abut our own end, let alone the death of a loved one. On top of that they are in trouble over paying taxes. They are facing pretty uneasy and unsettling times. Jesus sends them to the water to catch fish, a most unlikely way to deal with both death and taxes. But the solution lies right there, in the waiting and the trust. God does and will provide. We are invited to live with renewed trust, as the disciples did. We are invited to see that the most unlikely places, the most unlikely people are most likely to provide us enough to get through the troubles we face.

Today I ask God to help me trust in these uncertain times and to provide me the calm to wait by the water until the solutions are caught up in the net. May we all "trust and obey" as the old hymn reminds us, so that the unlikely places might yield enough for today and courage and hope for tomorrow.

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