If you ever go fishing with someone who does it regularly their bound to tell you at some point, “You can’t catch a fish if your hook isn’t in the water.” I’m not a rocket scientist or an avid fishermen, although I wish I were one – an avid fisherman that is, not a rocket scientist, but I have enough common sense to figure that one out on my own. But thanks for the heads-up.
What made me think of this was when I was reading the story in Matthew 17 of Peter being confronted by the religious leaders trying to stir stuff up by asking him if Jesus pays the temple tax. Short story made even shorter, Jesus replies in verse 27, “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the sea and cast a hook. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
Couple of quick observations and how we can apply it as husbands and dads:
First, there could have been just enough money in the fish’s mouth for Jesus to pay his taxes but he took care of Peter’s needs as well. In the same way, Jesus doesn’t leave us high and dry. He has made every provision for us to be godly husbands and godly dads. We don’t have to blindly wander through this maze of marriage and parenting. He’s made available to us everything we need – 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Second, Jesus provided the money but Peter had to do the work of going fishing for it. If Jesus could make money show up in a fish’s mouth then he certainly could have pulled it out of from behind Peter’s ear. Jesus provided but Peter had to do the work. Imagine if Peter walked away from Jesus going, “Awesome deal there, my taxes are paid! Guess I’ll go catch a little afternoon siesta.” Had Peter not done the work to get his fishing gear, make his way down to the sea and then cast a line in the water, the tax would not have been paid. What he needed was there for him but he had to do the work to get it. In the same way, we have at our disposal all that we need to love our wife well and raise our kids in a God-honoring way. It’s all there in front of us but we have to put forth the effort to learn it and apply it. Knowing it’s there isn’t enough. We have to work, and sometimes grind it out, to take full advantage of what’s been given to us.
And lastly, when we follow Jesus and obey what he tells us to do, life will be full of amazing moments. Jesus told Peter to throw a hook in the water and the first fish he caught would have money in it’s mouth. Have you ever caught a fish with money inside it? I’d be more apt to spend time fishing if I knew there were gold coins inside the fish I was going to catch. But that had to be a cool moment for Peter when it all went down like Jesus said it would.
Put yourself in Peter’s shoes and imagine yourself meandering down to the shoreline with your fishing gear, throwing your line in and assuming, hoping, wondering if the fish will actually have in its mouth what Jesus said it would. Also notice that Jesus said the first fish he caught would have money but he never told Peter it would be on the first cast. Peter could have been fishing for several hours before that first fish hopped aboard his hook. Sometimes we need to be patient knowing God will fulfill his promises to us. But when that moment happens and you experience the faithfulness and fullness of God, there’s not a better feeling in the world, just as I’m sure Peter had one of those once-in-a-lifetime feelings as he pulled the fish in and pulled the money out.
You have what it takes to be a great husband and dad! God has given us His Word to live by and there are other great resources at our disposal to teach us how to live the abundant life in our marriage and parenting. It’s all right there for the taking but you have to do the work to bring it into your heart and mind. And once you do, you will realize it was well worth the time and effort to go fishing for it.