So We Don’t Cause Offense
By Dawn Tolbert
“But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. 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 don’t enjoy relinquishing my rights, something I deem mine, or that I worked hard for. But I’ve learned, my witness and relationships must trump my pride.
Daddy taught me an important lesson when our new neighbor asked him to move the pasture fence, which the neighbor said crossed onto his property. To my preteen mind, we had rights to defend. Our family had been there around two decades and the fence even longer. Plus, we didn’t really know that the fence was in the wrong place. Daddy said none of that mattered. To him, a good relationship with the neighbor and a positive witness for Christ superseded a sliver of an acre.
He moved the fence.
Jesus modeled this type of action in Matthew 17:27. Tax collectors asked Peter, one of His disciples, if Jesus was going to pay the temple tax. As a non-resident and, more importantly, the Son of God, Jesus could have argued He was exempt.
Instead, He did the coolest thing. He told Peter to go out and fish. The first fish to bite the hook would have a coin to cover Peter’s tax and Jesus’ share, too.
Whether Jesus made the coin appear or if He commanded the exact fish who’d swallowed the needed coin to bite the hook, His power is clear. But so is His concern about His impact on others. Jesus didn’t want to “give offense.” So, He set aside His privileges and did the right thing.
The world tells us to focus on ourselves and not let others hinder our actions. Jesus showed us another way. He wants us to lay aside our self-centered concern and act in a way that glorifies God and shows care for others.
Dawn Tolbert is a contributor to Wholly Loved Ministries Daily Devotional, a Christ-follower who writes to honor God, thank Him for His goodness, and encourage readers by sharing her faith journey. She works in higher education public relations and is writing her first novel and her first book-length Bible study. She has earned a B.A. in Communication Studies and English (Gardner-Webb College), a M.A. in Professional Writing (Kennesaw State University), and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership (Union University). She and her husband, Larry, live in Cedartown, Georgia, and serve actively in their church. Dawn blogs at dawntolbert.com.
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Originally published Wednesday, 01 March 2023.