Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?

Does not your teacher pay the temple tax? (Matthew 17:24)

When the Temple tax collectors cornered Peter, Jesus didnít take the time to dispute with them. By all rights, Jesus could have refused to pay the tax, but he didnít want to get pulled into their petty drama. His mission as well as the focus of all his attention was his upcoming passion, death, and resurrection. So instead of taking the time to prove himself right in the matter, Jesus sent Peter to catch a fish, retrieve a coin, and pay the tax. He had bigger fish to fry!

We can all think of examples of petty disputes: a married coupleís relationship sours because of a decades-old spat; two members of the church ministry canít agree on the right shade of color for the carpet; a father becomes disappointed with his sonís career choice. Was one opinion better than the other? Maybe. But refusing to bend caused everyone to lose the bigger picture, and the result was division and bitterness. And that made it harder for the love of God to shine.

Sometimes itís best to keep the bigger picture in view. Sometimes we just have to let things go, even if weíre ďright.Ē Are you loving God with your whole heart? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? Is the other person trying to do the same? In the end, those are the only questions worth asking.

Imagine how God deals with us. He can see every one of our faults and failings, but he doesnít bring every detail to our attention all at once. Instead, he focuses on one area at a time, slowly polishing our rough edges. Heíll get to everything in his own time, starting with the most important. You never know; maybe those Temple tax collectors ended up embracing the gospel because Jesus refused to be baited into an argument.

So stay focused on whatís most important. Focus on love, even when you disagree. Pray for those who contradict you. Let God smooth the rough edges. He knows how to sort things out!

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