So I’m in the US Army, in Afghanistan working at a Headquarters in Kabul.
It’s not the sexiest job in the world and I’m not expecting to see the movie version in theatres any time soon, but it’s a part I’ve been asked to play.
In fact, as I told a friend recently, “This is the job your mother wants you to have.”
I’m ‘fighting’ the war from a computer screen; collecting the data, attending the meetings and then passing the information to someone else.
Thankfully, there’s been no shots fired in my vicinity and I haven’t been forced to seek shelter under the desk.
However, every week or so I have a requirement to update a US Army General on the happenings at this headquarters. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lengthy report, just an update on relevent events. Events that may have an effect on his decisions.
It’s an update on changes in circumstances or the changing atmosphere in the headquarters. Perhaps things he’s already heard about, which raises the stakes on providing a unique perspective.
You see, I know the General is the recipient of many reports and I feel he expects something a bit special from me.
As I contemplate my next offering and the stress level starts to rise, I’m reminded of a Biblical story on paying a Temple tax.
In this story, Peter is questioned about paying a tribute tax at the Temple. The tax collector says to Peter, “Hey, does your Master (Jesus) pay the Temple tribute tax?”
Peter probably wasn’t prepared to answer, but being that he’s Peter and tends to speak first and think later, he says to the tax collector, “What, you kiddin’ me!? Of course he does!”
So Peter sets out to find Jesus to let Him know the trouble he has caused at the Temple with this tax guy.
But before Peter can confess or ask a question, Jesus says, “Peter, who do the Kings of the earth collect poll taxes from, the sons or strangers?”
Peter replies, “Strangers, of course.”
“Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus replies. He continues, “But in order not to offend this tax collector, we should pay him. Not because it’s some valid tax, but because we’ve got bigger fish to fry,” or words to that effect. “So I want you to go down to the lake, throw your hook in the water and pull out a fish. In the fish’s mouth you’ll find some coins, give them to the tax guy for yours and my tax, so he doesn’t have a hissy fit.”
So Peter goes to the lake, hooks the fish, removes the coins and pays the man.
Which leads me back to struggling to write my report for the General. You see, the ‘tax’ is due every week and I’m usually a little short on ideas. So off to the lake I run, to hook that fish and pull out the gems to ‘pay’ the General his tribute.
It’s a prayer actually, and it usually starts like this, “Oh Lord, it’s that time again…” and I proceed to seek His guidance.
The wonder and beauty of it all is that I always seem to produce something for the General to read.
I have no idea why the Lord sent Peter to fish for the coins, or why He used mud to heal a blind person – but what I do know is that the ‘Lord is kind and merciful…’ and I seek His guidance and direction often. Not near often enough, but enough to know that God is Sovereign and there is no greater source of guidance and care.
In life’s daily challenges, it is the Lord that provides in my hour of need.
So pick up that fishin’ line and cast it in the water. You never know what treasures the Lord has for you in that simple act of faith.