This year marks the 40thanniversary 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. Continue reading →
God Always Provides for His Plan and Purpose
by Fred Carpenter
1) Consider the following Scriptures:
Matthew 21:1-6 1 When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. 3 “If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'” 6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them…
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
2) What do you see in these verses? (can you think of other things?)
v1 – He didn’t send all the disciples, just two. God’s work doesn’t depend on large numbers. These disciples weren’t going to search for the donkey and the colt. They were going to retrieve the donkey and the colt. When Jesus sent His disciples out to do ministry, He sent them in two’s.
v2-3 – The instructions were clear. God is in the details. The more specific the prophecy in Zechariah, the more glory to God when we read of its fulfillment in detail in Matthew (and Mark and Luke).
v2-3 – The provision had been prearranged. God had somehow prepared the heart of the person who owned the donkey and the colt. For every story there is a back story, and every character is vital to the greater narrative.
v5 – This was done so prophecy might be fulfilled. 9:9 was written about 500 before the event in Matthew 21.
v5 – Jesus didn’t just need a ride into town. He specifically needed a donkey and colt (and according to the parallel passages in Mark 11 and Luke 19, a colt that had never been ridden). A Jewish king might have come on a mule (1 Kings 1:38). A warring conqueror might have come on a war horse. A donkey and a colt symbolized humility, not war and aggression. Consider also that our passage identifies this donkey as a beast of burden. Jesus was about to take on the burden of the sin of the world.
v6 – The two disciples followed His instructions exactly, without questions.
This whole story defies natural wisdom and probability. It does not depend on human ingenuity and capacity. It reveals and magnifies the hand of God.
3) From what you have read, what can you apply to your life? (here is a partial list)
As we’ve seen with the owner of the donkey and the colt, every person is vital to the story – even if the role is “behind-the-scenes”. You are important to God’s story!
A lot of time passed between the prophecy in Zechariah and its fulfillment. Sometimes the story takes time to unfold. Be patient.
God will provide exactly what we need in order to fulfill His plan and purpose. Walk in His plan, and He will provide all you need to fulfill His purpose for your life.