In John 17:24-27, the religious leaders asked Peter if Jesus paid the Temple Tax, required of every Israelite male.

This was yet another opportunity for Jesus to address the issue of money. Some preachers actually boast that they never talk about money. That attitude is in direct contrast to Kingdom culture. Jesus talked about money more than prayer. Why? Jesus knew that, “Where your money goes, it reveals where your heart is,” (Matthew 6:21).

Jesus asked Peter about worldly leaders who tax their subjects: “Do they tax their own sons or just others?” (John 17:25). Peter replied, “Others.” “So,” Peter continued, “the sons are exempt” (verse 26).

That would be the culture of the world. But it is not Kingdom culture. Jesus answered in verse 27: “So we don’t offend them, go and pay my Temple Tax, and yours.” This is the culture of generosity.

So many churches are influenced by the culture of scarcity. Someone suggests a new ministry, and the first words by someone else are, “We can’t afford that.” Wrong response! If it’s God’s will, God pays for what He orders. What God decides, God provides.

I wonder how many times Christians offend God—and other Christians—by operating on the cheap. Ministries seem to be always short on finances. Yet, research shows that most Christians give back to God, about 3% of what God has given to them. They cripple Kingdom work by underfunding it.

Jesus’ response to Peter’s question about paying the tax gets really unusual. Jesus says, “Go fishing. The first fish you catch will have a coin in its mouth. With it, you’ll cover the Temple Tax for you and Me.” Really?

In Kingdom culture, what God does with money is miraculous. We should worry less and fish more. Jesus called us to be fishers of men and women, just like the disciples. You can’t out give God. Our math operates by subtraction. You give and you subtract an amount from your checkbook. God’s math operates by multiplication. Money is the one area where God challenges us to test Him. In Malachi 3:6-12, God says that we experience shortages, because we cheat Him. He asks His people to be generous, test Him and see if He doesn’t “open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessings upon His followers.” God is a God of generosity and Kingdom culture, which Jesus reinforced, works just the opposite of the way we think about money.

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