Have you ever found money in the mouth of a fish?
Imagine a lazy day at the lake, casting out your line and reeling in a beautiful fish. You open the mouth to remove the hook and there – right next to the hook – is a shiny coin.
This is exactly how Jesus and his disciples obtained the money to pay the temple tax. “Go to the lake and throw out your line,” Jesus said. “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” (Matthew 17:27).
I wonder how that coin got there? Certainly God could have just placed it there, but I have often found in life that God uses more natural means to produce such spectacular miracles. Perhaps someone was walking along the edge of the lake and dropped the coin. The fish saw something flash through the water and gobbled it up, only to find he couldn’t swallow it. And so it was stuck there in the corner of his jaw until some fisherman came along to discover it. Just as God had planned.
But, the thing I eventually came to ponder about this little story is how for these men, fishing was an ordinary act of life. It was their job and part of their culture. And so this story becomes less about money in the mouth of a fish, and more about the providence of God in an unexpected way as part of your ordinary day. Have you ever been walking down the street and spotted a coin on the sidewalk? Have you ever gotten to checkout and been told the item you were purchasing was actually on sale for cheaper than you thought? Have you ever reached into last winter’s coat pocket and felt the unmistakable texture of some forgotten cash?
How often we mistake these moments for simple coincidences! These moments of unexpected providence are no less miraculous than opening the mouth of a fish to find a shiny coin. It is God, in his mercy, providing for us.
So let me ask you again: Have you ever found money in the mouth of a fish?
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you? (Luke 12:27-28)