Bread and a Coin

George Müller was a man of faith, which was just as well that morning. The orphans were standing waiting for their breakfast, little realising that they had eaten the last of the food the night before. It was a tense moment for the staff who did not want to disappoint the children, but Müller knew that God had never yet let them down. So, Müller did what he always did, he gave thanks for the food they were about to receive. As soon as he had finished, there was a knock at the door.

Müller went to the door and before him stood the baker, looking rather sheepish. The baker did not know where to begin, so he just blurted it out: “I couldn’t sleep last night. I had this overwhelming sense that you needed bread for breakfast, and the Lord wanted me to make you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some fresh bread. I know it may sound silly, but I had to bring it right around for you this morning and I hope you can use it.” Müller was obviously delighted, although he was less surprise by this intervention than his staff. Some of whose jaws were by this time scraping the floor. When Müller had explained the situation to the baker, the baker was ecstatic. Not only had he been a blessing to the children in the home, but he had actually been used by God to be part of that blessing. It was a day he would never forget.

No sooner had the baker left, when there was a second knock at the door. It was the milkman. He apologised for disturbing them, but his milk cart had broken down right in front of the orphanage, and he offered his cans of fresh milk to the home, so he could empty his wagon and repair it.

It was a day that would be remembered in the long history of the Müller homes.

***

Many years before, in another place, Peter was looking at a fish. He could not believe what he was seeing, although he should not really have been surprised. This is exactly what Jesus told him to expect. Even so, it still seemed difficult to comprehend. There, in the mouth of the first fish he caught, was a four drachma coin – just as Jesus said. How did it get there, or, more to the point, how on earth had Jesus known?

He understood, or thought he did, that the kingdom of God would mean that people would be made whole, but a fish with a coin in its mouth was so far out of his understanding that he could not take it in. As he sat there speechless he slowly remembered all that Jesus had said about God caring for the sparrows and even every hair on his head. When Jesus spoke those words they had sounded warm and comforting. They spoke of a God who cared. Yet Jesus had a way of expressing things that sounded extreme, and he had never given any thought as to what that would actually look like. Yet now, it would appear, that God was taking care of his temple tax for him but providing a fish with a coin in its mouth. So, far from being an expression, more of comfort than of substance, it had become concrete in an unimaginable way.

Peter began to realise that, not only was the Messiah turning out to be nothing like he imagined, neither was God.