Shall we give? or Shall we not?
“Why don’t you give the Rs 10/-?? With her piercing eyes, and strong voice, My dear Principal threw the arrow of the question at me.
“To release your CD ( Compulsory Deposit money Rs.60/- you have to give Rs 5/- as Travelling expenses, for the person who went to Hyderabad to get the files, and the another Rs 5/-as he had given bribe to the staff who worked to release the money. ((the year was 1977)The very next year I joined as Lecturer in the women’s college.
“Sorry sister, I cannot give the Rs5/-as bribe money. But I will give TA expenditure of Rs.5/”
“Because it’s written in the Bible taking bribe is sin, I quoted some verses, ” fire will consume the tents of those who love the bribes”Job 15:34
“….whose hands are of wicked scheme.and right hand full of bribe….”
She did not say anything at the moment but after a minute she said, show me the verse in the Bible where Lord Jesus asked his disciple Peter to give money to the Romans after he fished out a fish from the sea, and a coin retrieved from its mouth.(Actually it was not bribe money ,but Tax money) But I did not argue .
Ordering me thus she went away to take her lunch. I did have a small Gideon New Testament in my hand bag, I picked it up and started to search for the verse. I could not find it, somehow, nowhere in the Bible, I knew it was in the gospels, but which gospel? If it is my Telugu Bible I can find the place where it is,I could find any verse very easily from my Telugu Bible, because I often underline with different colored pencils, or I can remember the place of the parables, incidents in my Bible; but not in this palm size NT Bible. ( Thank God in those days we did not have Android mobiles and or Google Search apps.)
I am dismayed. The lunch time was over, I was there with my little Bible in her Chamber, ferociously searching for that particular incident in the Gospels according to Mathew, Mark, Luke, And John.. no where I could find it. I was not mindful of my lunch at all, I was hungry of the word of God there in my chair before a big table in her room.Later , I saw her through the window in the campus, she finished her lunch, and afternoon rest and came to the Office. I was still in the sae place where she left me before she leaves her chamber. I was terrified, I could not find the verse she told me to search for. She asked me to find this verse by the time she comes back. “ “ Where the collectors of the temple tax ask Peter whether Jesus pays that tax. Jesus, knowing this conversation, asked Peter, “ What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From Their children or from others?” Peter answers, From others.“Jesus responds, “Then the children are free. However, so that we do not give no offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin: take that and give it to them for you and me.” from Mathew 17:25-27
This is exactly the verse she asked me to find out so that she can tell me even Jesus obeyed the rules of the country, paying the amount they asked Him to pay. But I did not have any thoughts about her intentions at that moment, two and half hours passed, I could not find the verse. Hecticly I was in search of the verse obeying her commandment, that’s all.
But a miracle happened here. I saw her coming to her chamber crossing the compound from the convent. A sort of fear enfolded me , don’t know the reason, I have to show her the verse she asked for; that is all in my mind,I am praying the Lord to show the verse to me, that’s the only thing in my mind .The minute she entered into the chamber through the door, I found the sae type of verse in the Bible.I, in hurry looking into the pages, there I found a different situation of money matters in the Gospel according to Matthew 22:15:22
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how “ to entangle Him in His words. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “ Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for You are not sayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? But Jesus,aware of their malic, said, “ Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax” amd they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesars.” Then He said to them, “ Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left Him and went away. -MATHEW 22:15-22
Actually she asked me show the reference from Matthew 17:25-27 but I could not find it God closed my eyes to see it I found the verses of the sae type in Matthew 22:15_22
I was flipping the pages of Gospels especial matthew and Mark to find these verses, God shut my eyes for the verse she asked for it and showed e another chapter 17; but showed me chapter 22. Marvellous deeds of God. His angels protected me. If at all I found these verses before her arrival I would have been searching for the 17th chapter still more. But, nay, she entered the room I found chapter 22nd and as soon as she summoned me to her table I showed the verses in chapter 22. I was still wondering at the accuracy of the Word of God—s, when she entered the office room. God gave this verse instead of that verse she asked for. Sister. Principal, straight away, asked me, “ Did you find the incident? I told you about paying the money that Peter found in the mouth of the fish.
What to do now? I could find only this instance of giving money to the Government;but not the instance of the fish mouth, quietly I went to her chair where she was seated, and gave the little NT Bible to her hand , and along with her I too was peeping into the verses, She touched the verse, with her finger, Why are you testing Me? You hypocrites,Why are you trying to trap me ? and looked up at me with her perceiving eyes silently for a second, then said, ‘ Ok child go to your class,”
I was out of that chamber in a second, and how I ran to my staff room I do not remember. How she pacified all the lecturers who were angry with me and not talking to me for one week I do not know. How she managed the situation , to this day I do not know. I did not have any interest to know the result of that interview, but neither she nor that male lecturer who was angry with me did not ask me to give money, the otherRs. 5/-
That day I was astonished by the way the Lord intervened by giving this part of the gospel instead of the part of the gospel I was asked to show to her.
That evening when I went to my room and when I was alone with my Bible, I found the para about paying the taxes for which she asked for. “Doesn’t your teacher pay the people tax? “Yes he does”-“when Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. What do you think Simon? He asked “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes–from their own sons or from others?” Peter answered , ” from others”–Then the sons are free, ” Jesus said to him. But however we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw out your line. and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take it and give it to them for your tax and Mine.” Matt 17:27
Strangely enough The verses she asked for were in the same Gospel of Matthew 17th chapter, but the verses I could find were in the 22nd chapter of the same Gospel. I flipped those pages many times, why I could not see the 17th chapter is still a mystery still. If at all I found that instance of Peter, Sister would have pursued me furthermore. Even then I knew I would not yield, but I needed to argue that it was about bribes and not about tax, and the problem of disobedience would have been much more intensified in their view.
Then why I could not find this incident even though I searched for it almost one and half hour? and Why I could find the other para about paying taxes just in time when she came?It’s His Spirit that guides us, Helps us, and teaches us. But the Helper the Holy Spirit whom the Father send will send in my name,He will teach you all things …..John 14:26 God is very near, very very near, miracles happen, we say miracle when you cannot give an explanation for what happened then and there, Such miracles are plenty in my life, His word is living word, He knew how to give and when to give and which word to give, just because we search, we won’t get what we want. “He tells us every thing over and over , one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there….“Isaiah 28:10 (NLT)
I was considered as the black sheep of the family in college by all other lecturers, but God_ fearing Principal knew that I stood for the Word of God. She tried to meet me with the Word of God, but God gave her/me a para of paying taxes which is appropriate and apt for the occasion. The word “But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? ” touched her heart, she being a praying woman, understood that God was talking to us at that moment. She did not press me any more about that issue.
The Lord was with me and rescued me from the mouth of the Lion,i.e,. Bribe. The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the (staff ) could hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth (II Tim 4:17)
Shall we give? or Shall we not?