2018-04-11 / Faith

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s

Lessons from the Heart
By Pastor Greg Brenneman

Brenneman Brenneman “Tax Day” is next Tuesday. Some of us are excited that we will get refunds. Many of us already have it spent. Some of us are frustrated and grumbling that we must pay taxes. Do I really need to pay taxes?

Jesus addressed this subject in His final week on earth. Jesus said this when Tiberias was the Caesar of Rome. He was the ruler of the government in that day. Apparently, Jesus was calling the Jews to render to Caesar some kind of honor. The passage goes like this, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17.

Initially, we may think that Jesus was distinguishing that Caesar and God were two separate authorities and we need to decide who gets what. The real question is “What is God’s?” The answer, everything is God’s. So, the point seems to be when we realize that all of life, including all of Caesar’s rights and power and possessions, belong to God, we will be in a proper frame of mind to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

Today, “Caesar” is our governmental authorities. These authorities provide many services and benefits that are possible because of taxation. We are grateful at times, for example when in need of an ambulance, fire trucks or police officers. Other times, we may question if our tax dollars are being spent wisely. I have had those thoughts. I remind myself that I have been to other countries and returned to America thankful to live in a country that operates for the benefit of its citizens.

We live on this earth and are subject to the authorities that rule over us even while our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). When we know that all is God’s, then anything we render to Caesar we will render for God’s sake.

Peter says, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme or to governors as sent by him.” 1 Peter 2:13-14. “For the Lord’s sake” is Peter’s way of saying, “Everything is God’s and we are under earthly authority because we know we are honoring God in it.

Regardless of how “Tax Day” impacts our lives, may we worship and glorify the Lord for all we have as we render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.

Greg Brenneman is the pastor at Victory in Christ Fellowship in Flora.

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