Obedience and The Fish's Mouth
Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.
MY husband and I live in the northwestern part of the United States. His parents live on the East Coast, thousands of miles away, and one time they wanted us to come visit them.
I was concerned about the cost of airplane tickets, and we bought only one, for my husband. But there was a nagging feeling on my part that this wasn't right. Then and there, I decided to turn this over to God. I prayed to do only His will-and not my own. Then this question came to thought: What action would match my highest sense of love? It was then clear that I should go on the trip, and I bought a ticket for myself as well, even though we didn't have a lot of extra money.
This decision was not just a nice little human answer to a problem; it was the result of an earnest prayer to do God's will. The willingness to listen in prayer freed me from the fear that something truly good could ever be spent, or in short supply. And I knew this fear had no power over our family or anyone.
The Bible says in Second Corinthians, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (9:7). Thinking about what it means to be a cheerful giver, I realized that expressing love to our fellow men and women is the best gift we can ever give. This is the same kind of love that Christ Jesus expressed. It is compassionate. It heals.
When Jesus and his disciples once were traveling through a certain region, they were asked to pay tribute to the king-in other words to pay taxes. According to St. Matthew, Jesus instructed the disciple Peter, "Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee" (17:27). Now, if someone told you or me to do this, we might laugh at the idea. But Peter was obedient. He knew what Jesus said was based on the truth that God supplies every need of man. And Peter trusted that. This trust in and obedience to what was actually a divine law of supply enabled Peter to find the money and pay the taxes.
Many times, again and again, Jesus proved that God cares for man. Another time he fed a multitude with only a few fishes and loaves of bread (see Matthew 14:15-21).
God's care for man is just as provable today as it was in Jesus' day. The woman who founded the Christian Science Church wrote, "It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good." This is from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 494).
After considering all this in prayer, I dropped my concern about the money I'd spent for the second ticket, and we went on the trip. It turned out to be a visit full of happiness, in which I was able to give love to my relatives by expressing God. I felt sure it had been right for me to go.
The day after our return, I realized it was time for us to pay some taxes. I looked in our records. And gratefully I realized that over a period of several months I had mistakenly set aside too much money for these taxes. The extra money that was left over was the exact amount of the airline ticket I'd bought. To me this was evidence that God was supplying me in an unexpected way. Actually, I was even more grateful for the lesson I had learned in setting aside my own human plans, fear, and limitation, and trusting God.
Science and Health sets importance on giving when it says this, "Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us" (p. 79). In my situation, I believed this to be true, because God's love had been evident in my life many times before. We all have the same God. And it is because we are each His beloved child that it is right to have all the good things necessary to express and honor Him.