When Jesus began to call His 12 disciples, He realized from the very beginning that He would have to teach them to manage their finances according to an entirely different system than that which they had been used to operating under. He would have to teach them to see earthly things as they are seen in Heaven, not through rose-colored glasses, but through Kingdom-colored glasses.
Most of His disciples were fishermen, and had grown up the sons of fisherman. They had seen it all their lives: Catch fish, sell fish, earn money to buy what they needed. But now they were being called to be “fishers of men”. OK, that was a nice word-picture they could relate to, but how would “catching men” support them. What would they eat? What would they drink? Wherewithal would they be clothed? To illustrate the simple truth of how God supplies for His creatures, Jesus admonished His followers to learn from the birds and the flowers of the field (See Mt. 6:19-33). He taught them not to trust in money and things, but to “seek first the Kingdom”, and then “all they needed would be added unto them.” (v. 33)
But He not only taught them the theory behind these Kingdom ways, but illustrated personally via real-life practical examples what a miracle-based economy is like. His very first miracle was a simple but graphic example. When there was no more wine to drink at the wedding feast in Cana, He turned water into wine. Not long after, He wanted to test them to see if they were getting the point. A multitude had come to hear Him preach, and when they were hungry and no food was available, Jesus told his disciples “Give ye them to eat”. How did the disciples react? They looked in their pockets and declared: “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” (Jn. 6:7, Mk. 6:37) When He saw they were still seeing things the way the world sees them, he gave them another lesson in Kingdom economics — He multiplied the loaves and the fishes. And it’s important to realize that Jesus was not doing these miracles because He was the Son of God. He was doing them because he was locked into the Kingdom ways.
When the tax collector in Capernaum inquired of Peter whether or not his Master paid tribute, he said “Yes” by faith, but where would that money come from? Jesus showed once again how the Kingdom operates when He instructed Peter to “cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money”. And notice that there was only enough in the fish’s mouth to take care of their current need. Peter did not continue fishing hoping to accumulate worldly wealth via gold coins in fishes’ mouths.
This spiritual way of looking at financial issues was completely new to the disciples, but was it really new? Or was Jesus simply teaching them the ways of the Ancient of Days – the ways of the Kingdom of God? When teaching His disciples how to pray, He emphasized the importance of living a Kingdom lifestyle: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”. Did He really mean we should be operating here on Earth the way things are done in Heaven? Peter apparently finally got the point when at the Beautiful Gate of the temple he said to the lame man begging “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6)
Have we become so conditioned by the ways of the world, that we just can’t see that there’s a better, much more Godly way? And it’s not charging more and more things on our credit cards until we are hopelessly in debt. It’s tapping into the Heavenly storehouses the Kingdom way? (Mark 11:24, Mt. 21:22, Jn. 14:14, Mal. 3:10b, Ps. 23:5)