A New Year is time to reflect on the miracle of life. Life in itself is a miracle, and we need to make sure that we take time each day to be thankful for all of the miracles that we experience, both small and large. Regardless of our age or status in life, our ability to perform some sort of labor, whether little or much, has the capability to make an impact on our world and indeed the entire world to bring about miracles in the lives of others.
While I don’t think any of us really enjoy paying taxes, we certainly do like some of the benefits that we receive from the taxes we do pay. Most of us would like to experience a phenomenon at tax time and have our taxes paid miraculously, but that is not how it works. Another tax situation is recorded in the Good News according to Matthew, who himself was a former tax collector. The story is recorded in Matthew 17:24-27. The tax collectors were out doing their work, and they accused Jesus of not paying his share of taxes although technically Jesus was required to pay it. In verse 27 Jesus said, “However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”
We read in the passage that Jesus’ disciple Peter came to him and said it was time to pay taxes, but they had no money. In response to his disciple’s statement, Jesus said, “No problem.” Now, why could he say “no problem”? Well, word had it that Jesus was a miracle worker. If you hand a problem to a miracle worker they are inclined to say “no problem.” It is good when you are able to hang out with people like that.
I do not want to minimize the miracles of Jesus at all because they are truly miracles. When you really think about the universe and so much that goes on around us, then we can see miracles every day. God works through faithful and gifted individuals to bring about what is considered miracles to others. The question is, “Are you allowing miracles to be worked through you?”
Since I have nearly 40 years of experience in technology, some may look at what I am able to perform on computers as miracles, but, unlike Jesus, it has taken me many years to gain these miraculous abilities and skills.
Those individuals who have honed their skills can appear to be miracle workers. If you hand any of them a problem guess what they say. That’s right. They say, “No problem.” How many books will they read to solve a problem? As many as it takes. If they need to consult, how much consulting will they do? As much as it takes. How early will they get up? As early as it takes. “No problem…” You need to surround yourself with people like that. You cannot believe the thrill of being associated with miracle workers – people who will do whatever it takes to get the job done and perform miracles. This association allows you to also become good at your craft.
When asked about paying the taxes Jesus said it was “no problem.” In fact, he said it was going to be easy. He told Peter to just go fishing. Now, it couldn’t have been any easier than that, especially for this disciple because Peter was a fisherman. If you can fish and you should fish and you don’t fish, then that is why you do not get a miracle. But, Jesus told his disciple to go fishing and to look in the mouth of the first fish that he caught. Peter, who was getting used to these strange happenings and miracles agreed to go. Well, Peter caught his first fish and looked in its mouth and found a large silver coin. Peter then realizes that the coin was exactly enough to pay his and Jesus’ taxes.
Once again, I am in no way minimizing the miracles of Christ, but we would say, “Wow! That is a miracle!” We call it a miracle simply because we don’t quite understand how it works. That’s all. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, it just means we don’t quite understand how it works, which is true of all miracles. It was “no problem” for Jesus. In fact, for most of us, our whole life is a miracle.
How about this miracle. God says if you plant the seed, I will make the tree. Wow! You can’t have a better arrangement than that. First, it gives God the tough end of the deal. What if you had to make a tree? That would keep you up late at night trying to figure out how to make a tree. God says, “No, leave the miracle part to me. I’ve created the seed, the soil, the sunshine, the rain, and the seasons. I’m God and all this miracles stuff is easy for me. I have reserved something very special for you, though, and that is to plant the seed.” So are you fulfilling your part in God’s miracles?
I have found in life that if you want a miracle, you first need to do whatever it is you can do. If that’s to plant, then plant. If it is to read, then read. If it is to change, then change. If it is to study, then study. If it is to work, then work. Whatever you have to do, do it. And then you will be well on your way to doing the labor that works miracles.
Even in the miracle of new life in Christ, we must do our part, but it is God who performs the miracle as the Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Colossians in Chapter 3 verses 6 through 8, “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.”
There is much we may not understand yet, but as we grow in wisdom and insight, we will come to understand our part in the miracle process. Work hard and you can perform miracles.