It’s not uncommon to hear that around this time.
Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. -Mark 12:17
I don’t think Jesus’ ultimate goal was to help out the government. It was to help you and me. We spend much time lamenting and agonizing over our financial obligations. This has become the seat of much unrest in the human soul. Not just Uncle Sam’s cut, but the household budget, the broken car, the medical bills — they all pile up and create walls between us and the people closest to us. The bills birth battles. The quick answer seems to be: MORE. If we only had a little more, that would solve everything.
Though in my more lucid moments I know history shows something quite different. More money has never solved soul issues. Now, what if these present challenges really present a different kind of more? More opportunities for God to grow my soul? Honestly, Jesus is saying Caesar’s tax bill is an opportunity. How? Notice Jesus’ solution – “Give back”. Jesus didn’t say “pay”. Rather, “give.” Whoa! This is a directive to relax the tight grip we have on stuff and in so doing discover the tight grip it has on us. This is an invitation to see an obligation as an opportunity. “Give back!” Could my tax bill become an opportunity for me to give back? Could this present crisis become an opportunity for generosity to make its graceful entrance onto the stage of my life? Perhaps with a little adjustment I could take what might be designed to cause me to stumble and make it a rock on which I stand. I could choose to give joyfully instead of pay reluctantly. Today that is my choice and it is certainly freeing!
PS: Don’t forget to ponder the rest of the scripture …”what is God’s?”That will mess you up …. Beautifully!