Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Loss-Your Gain

Matthew 17:24 (ESV) "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?” 25 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?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 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.”
Jesus paid his temple tax and the tax of others! That shekel had great value. He didn't have to, but he chose to. This tax was for the temple. Jesus and the disciples were sons of that king. Peter rightfully said that kings don't tax their own, but others!  However, Jesus said "let's pay anyhow" and he did! A man without money to be taxed paid the tax anyway! How? God provided it. The coin for the tax was found in the mouth of a fish! Jesus showed faith in God to provide and provide God did! People learned from that and still do.

Was it coincidence that the "first fish that comes up" just happened to have a coin in it? Not so! God had a plan. He knew the hearts of the people and the scenario before it ever happened! That coin was placed there by God so that Jesus could make a point. Did God create that coin right there out of thin air or did someone conveniently lose the coin so that Jesus could use it as an example?

First off, God is the Creator. He could have created a coin right there on the spot. He could have created a worn corn with a date on it and with corrosion. However, we know from scripture many places that God didn't use magic to do his bidding, but his own creation. He allowed someone to lose that coin at sometime before. That coin may have been lost a hundred years before because God wanted to use that man's money for a purpose!

The temple treasury gained because someone lost a coin. What's more, even,  today people use this example to see the divinity of Jesus! Souls are saved in this 21st century because someone before the time of Christ lost a coin. That coin may have been the person's last money. Added to the chance that a person conveniently lost a coin, a fish conveniently gobbled it up! God plans well ahead!

Imagine how a poor man who lost that coin may have felt. If it was his last, he may have not eaten that day or week. I've lost money before. I relived the loss for quite some time. My Mom relived the loss of one-hundred dollars for years because when she lost it, it was really needed. It's likely that someone found mom's one-hundred dollars and it was used for a purpose; maybe a good cause and hopefully not a bad cause!

Losses are not always monetary. Sometimes we lose "things". I'm good at losing stuff. I left behind $20,000 worth of fountain pens and somebody in fact did find them. It was a sad loss for me. To this day I recall "only if I had done things differently!". I have the loss and I can't do it over. It hurt!

Loss of relationships hurt worse than the pecuniary!  Most of us have lost friends; people who no longer are in our realm of friendship. Sometimes we lose family members to outside influences. My loss (and yours) may be for gain. I don't know how, but God allows things to happen for divine good!

On the other hand, Satan slips in too! In the case of my loss of pens, someone else gained. It was illicit gain and will be enjoyed for a short time. My hope is that the thief who failed to return my pens will sometimes feel guilty and call on the Lord for forgiveness. My loss will be his gain!  However, if the man feels no remorse my loss will be his loss for Satan usurped and opportunity and used it for his own wiles.

I like to think that divine good came from my loss. My prayer right now is that the man with my pens feels guilty and seeks relief from God! That may be God's plan! With that in mind my loss isn't quite so bad because good may become of it, just as the lost coin centuries ago changed things which effect us today!

I lost a phone yesterday. It can be replaced. I learned a lesson. I will be more aware and cautious in the future, not only with my phone, but with other things. When I say things to those I love I will be more cautious.. When I do things I will be more aware of consequences. My own loss may be my own gain! If someone finds that phone I will probably never know (just like the man who lost that old coin). However, maybe it will come to good use. Perhaps it's lost to the ages! If so, I needed the loss for a reason and my loss is my gain.

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