devos from the hill

Money in the Mouth of a Fish, and an AC Unit on the Roof

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This year marks the 40th anniversary of Mars Hill Productions! In this devotional series, president, Fred Carpenter is reflecting on the important lessons of God that have guided us in ministry and led us into a deeper understanding of His ways.

“However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.” – (the words of Jesus to Peter when he was challenged by the tax authorities as to whether or not his Master paid taxes) – Matt. 17:27

Several years ago, as we were approaching another hot Houston summer, Doug Whitehead, our VP of Administration informed me that one of the two Mars Hill air conditioner units on our roof had gone out. The AC unit was not our landlord’s responsibility, it was ours. We talked about our options: hold off and endure the heat until we were in a better financial position, or bite the bullet and purchase a replacement unit.

Whatever our decision, we determined that the first thing to do was to get up on the roof and assess the situation; the type of unit, its location, etc. Upon doing our diligence, we discovered something very unusual. Much to our amazement, next to our dead unit, there was another unit in perfect condition (a third unit) just sitting there. Before we moved into our space, it was occupied by a restaurant which needed three AC units to handle a capacity crowd. When we moved in, that third unit was never connected, and it was now available to us!

We marveled at God’s provision! The first thought that came to my mind was the fish story from Matt. 17. God had that fish swallow the coin to pay the tax before Peter even knew it was needed. From that AC experience, I learned a lesson that has set a pattern for me to this very day.

We often think of “our needs” as our “basic needs”, food, water, covering, etc. I would define our need as anything that is necessary to live out the life God has called us to live. This definition obviously goes beyond our “basic needs.” If God is calling me to be a doctor or a lawyer, then I need the proper education to fulfill my calling. If God is calling me to work on the other side of town, then I may need a car. If God is calling me to be a real estate agent, then I may need a nicer car to drive my clients around. If God is calling me to film people under hot lights without having them perspire profusely, then I need and AC unit. Different people have different callings and thus, different needs.

When I think I have a need for something in order to live out the life God has called me to live, I first ask God, “Is this something you want me to have?” Discovering the answer to this question can be a bit like peeling back the layers of an onion. Sometimes, I’ve discovered that what I really need is something different than what I thought I needed. And, there have been times I’ve found that God actually wanted something nicer for me than I even wanted for myself.

After asking my Father that first question, if and when God gives me a conviction that He wants me to have something, I then move to the second question. “Father, how do You want me to lay hold of this?” Do I pay for it outright, either at the going rate or at a reduced rate? Or, do I look to You to provide it in some other way?

I have applied this process to both goods and services. And I have seen God provide broadcast-quality production equipment, office space, cars, footage rights for The HOPE, professional services, and much, much more! I believe there are a lot more “coins in mouths of fish” than we are aware of. And, when we trust God to provide in ways that are “outside the box” and often defy probability, three things happen. One, we are able to use His money for something else. Two, we have the opportunity to share an amazing “AC story” that brings glory to God! What could be better than that! And three, seeing God work in extraordinary ways helps us to trust Him to work in the ordinary things of life, which then moves our life more and more into the extraordinary.

Do you have a need today? Check with your Father first. Do you really need it? If you do, then ask Him how He would have you acquire it. You might be on the verge of stepping into an amazing God story!

Phil 4:19 – “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Gen 22:14 – “Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”

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