He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” - Luke 20:25 ESV
I know it's only the end of January, but it's hard not to think about tax season. Before we know it, April 15 will be here and all of us will be rushing to "render unto Caesar." In fact, the ads and commercials for tax preparation services have already started. Most try and take a humorous approach, but for some reason I find it very difficult to see paying your taxes as a laughing matter. Especially in the midst of economic hard times.
But I digress. As I look at Jesus' response to a trick question posed to him by the Jewish religious leaders who were obsessed with finding some charge they could level at Him and get Him out of the way, I am convicted. Not about paying my taxes, but about false worship.
You see, Jesus tells them to "render" or literally "discharge what is due" to the government of their day. That just happened to be the Romans. They had a civic duty and responsibility to pay their taxes. Even if those taxes were unjust and exorbitant (which they were). But the thing that hit me is that I tend to give the government more than it deserves or even demands. I render unto government what really belongs to God:
My trust, confidence, hope, dependence, expectation, desire for protection, need for stability. In short, I end up worshiping government instead of God. This morning the news agencies are all talking about the House having passed President Obama's $819 billion stimulus package. Many Americans are placing their hope and confidence in this bill being our way out of the financial crisis this country is in. There are even a lot of believers who are hoping someone, anyone in government will come up with a solution.
But is government where my hope should lie? Are politicians the ones in whom I should place my confidence? Is Washington or Rome where I should turn for solutions to the difficulties of life?
I am to render unto God what is rightfully His and His alone. My confidence, my trust, my hope, my allegiance, my dependence, my obedience, my life. So this April 15 I will render unto Caesar what is rightfully his. But beginning today I will attempt to give God what only He deserves. Care to join me?
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! - Psalm 31:24 ESV
Father, these are difficult days, but you are a powerful God. Help me to remember that you alone are worthy of my trust, allegiance, confidence, hope, and love. Give me a confidence to face each day with peace, hope, and joy. Amen.