Matthew – God’s Purposes
What kind of longish title is this? This is description of how God works in our lives to pull us forward to where He wants us to be. In the process, He pulls us ever closer to Him.
We have been in Santa Cruz, Bolivia for over three months now as fill in teachers for art for elementary kids along with teaching a Biblical View class to 11th graders. Randy and I were trained to be teachers even before entering college. God place a desire on our hearts to be teachers while still being taught by great teachers in elementary, middle and high school. For both of us, teaching kids, was a life long goal. Our “calling” was to be Christian teachers in public schools, to be the Light of Christ. It’s not only what we do, it became who we were.
In the middle years of our lives, we were taken from the classrooms to full time classrooms of churches, mission fields and other places of teaching. But we were still teachers. God used all the years of our lives, not wasting any moment of failure or successful experience to teach us what we did not know at the time. God surprised us with taking us on “teaching journeys” beyond our wildest dreams. It was not because we were special, it was because we said yes to God in love and obedience.
Has it been easy to live here and teach kids of another culture? No, it has been challenging, physically and emotionally draining at times BUT extremely exhilarating and humbling when kids come to Christ and thank you for coming into their lives for “such a time as this”. God drew us here with this opportunity to teach. God knows us well. We knew we could contribute as teachers as a way to help. But what we didn’t know was all the lessons we would learn from God in the process. Yes, God uses what we know and who we think we are to draw us to where HE wants us to be and what HE wants us to learn to know about Him…and ourselves.
Our relationship with our Lord and Savior, God, Our Father is more intimate still. Our relationship as husband and wife is closer and stronger than ever before because of this growth in our love and devotion to God. (There will always be a direct correlation!) We did not expect our marriage to take a growth spurt in this process. We have learned how to be more flexible, more kind, more patient, more generous with loving words, finances, and deeds with others as well.
We can almost do spiritual back-bends! We have been tested and harassed by evil forces as we work to bring Light to dark souls. We have learned to cope with life stuff that becomes small stuff in the larger picture of the greater goal. We have taken from our backpacks those things that hinder our walk making our load lighter. We have learned how to stop, rest and listen as God nourishes our hearts, minds and souls between tasks. We have grown even more grateful for all God has done, is doing and will do in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We are seeing with greater focus. We are hearing with Holy Spirit aided ears. We are understanding God and others with greater clarity.
Have we arrived? Oh no, not yet. We still, at our age, have a way to go before we see Jesus face to face in all His glory. The more we learn, we learn the more we need to know. God is not finished with us yet. We still need a few “fishing trips”, sent by Jesus, to pay our “taxes” in this life of learning and growing. Read the next passage and you will get what I mean…I pray you do.
Matthew 17, NLT
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
22 After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. 23 He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were filled with grief.
Payment of the Temple Tax
24 On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax[e] came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?”
25 “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house.
But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?”
26 “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied.
“Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! 27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION…
Jesus sent Peter, a fisherman, on a fishing trip, doing what he already knew to do to learn more about what Jesus can do through Him.
Now, do you get it?
What is Jesus asking you to do?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Randy and I have always been learners as well as teachers. We know there is much more we need to know. Thank you for loving us enough to continue to teach us what we do not know about You and life abundant living with You in us and us in You. Continue to use what you have given to us to give to others as ways to help them find and follow you, too.
In Jesus Name, Amen.