By Dalan Decker
Read: Matthew 17:24-27
I remember one time when a very well-to-do friend of mine threw a party. It wasn't for me, but I was invited. With anticipation I counted down the days. This friend has a house in one of the most beautiful parts of Puerto Rico, up in an awesome area in the mountains called Comerio. I was sure the place would fit the party. Living as I do in hot, sticky San Juan, I knew the party was going to be wonderfully extravagant.
When we arrived, I noticed first of all the amazingly cool air. When you live in the tropics, this is unique in itself. Then the vista! From a balcony atop the mansion, one could see about half the island, all the way to the ocean. It was heady, wonderful, all embracing. The clouds kept slipping up the mountainside, draping us in fresh mist, tingling our lungs with cold air that felt straight out of November.
Sometimes God works extravagantly. The time Jesus broke five loaves and two fishes, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. And then, sometimes He chooses to do just enough and no more. Like the time when Elijah lived by the brook. The ravens brought his food just day by day.
We know that God promises to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20) So how come sometimes it seems like we're just scraping by? I think it's because God wants to glorify Himself in our lives. Any blessing He gives is to show that He is God, that He can provide for our needs creatively.
The tax collectors approached Peter with a question: "Doesn't your teacher pay the double-drachma tax?" It was more of a challenge than a question. Jesus could have responded any way He wanted to. He could have made money rain from the sky or He could even have ignored the demand. But He responded by doing just enough. Peter went fishing and found a stater--a coin worth four drachmas. Jesus provided exactly enough for Himself and for Peter. In so doing, He proved that He was in complete control. Jesus showed Himself omnipotent.
In Comerio, the party got started a little late. Things usually do here. Then what surprised me about the party itself was how simple it was. We ate hot dogs and chuletas (pork chops) and drank Coca-Cola. Nothing fancy. But it was all tastefully arranged and very good. And I realized that I hadn't really wanted a big party with a lot of noise and activities. Some lechón asado (roasted pork) and a quiet game of Scrabble was really what I'd been aching for after all. The quiet and cool is a memory I have treasured through many hot, hectic days in the urban jungle of San Juan.
Looking back over my life, I see places where God has worked. At the time, it may not have seen all that amazing. But it was just what I needed. And isn't that what Agur said in Proverbs 30:8? "Lord, neither give me too much or too little."
Dalan Edwin Decker is a freelance author and radio personality in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
He is the author of Shadow Trail, a novel for children, and contributed to Encounters with God 2 (Standard, 2006). For more about Dalan, upcoming works and appearances, be sure to visit him at dalandecker.com