Barnabas flipped the coin in the air and watched how the sun glinted off the silver as it came down to rest again in his hand. He saw the fishermen bringing in their morning catches as he walked along the docks. They’d have to struggle to earn a single drachma for their entire night’s work, but his last patient had given him four drachmas for a single hour’s work. He was glad to receive it, but in truth, Barnabas had done little. A quick procedure had left the patient feeling much better in the short term, and they’d heal on their own in the days to come.
Something inside told him this coin was for something special. But what? He flipped it again as he thought. Perhaps he’d buy a fine cask of wine to enjoy. Flip. Perhaps he’d buy the meat of a fattened calf for tonight’s dinner. Flip. What about putting it toward a higher purpose? He could donate it to the temple. Flip. Or give it as alms to the poor. No, not the second one. He could just imagine this precious coin being gambled away or wasted on drink. Then what? He flipped it again. Suddenly, a boat hit the dock, startling him, and the coin fell past his grasping hand and into the sea.
Barnabas stood on the docks, stunned. All his plans vanished into the water, disappearing as a dark shadow moved over them. How could God allow this senseless waste to happen? He plodded home, discouraged.
Jesus said to Peter, “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 NIV)
~ Cameron Miller, writer
~ Deana Harvey, photographer