“…and give to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22: 21
Jesus was a master at seeing through people and knowing them for what they really were- both good and bad. In this story He saw their duplicity, their dishonest ways, and their evil intents. These people came to Him acting very sincere and appearing like they were interested in Him and what He might have to say, when in fact they were there as spies trying to catch Him saying something that could be used against Him. He saw right through them and responded accordingly. That was my first ah-ha moment this morning. Jesus used nothing in His dealings with life that I do not have at my disposal too. It’s encouraging to know that God is able to give me the same kind of wisdom in dealing with people that He gave His Son. Life is FULL of people coming with their agendas and their attempts to tell me what I want to hear so they can get what they want to get out of life. It’s also full of hurting people trying to hide behind masks that protect them from condemnation or criticism. Both need help. Fortunately the people I deal with are not spies with the intent of hurting me, but rather normal human beings that are searching for growth, or help, or direction, but often only tell me a part of the whole story, or a piece of the necessary information and I might just fumble my way through helping because I don’t see the whole picture. I want the wisdom of God, not to get out of some plot against me, but so that I can be the best help and support possible to the people in my life. Jesus knew how to see through the surface information and get right to the heart of the issue. I want to keep developing that gift AND the connection with my God so that I can treat people as wisely as did Jesus.
My second ah-ha moment this morning is the balance of Jesus’ response to these evil men and His ability to turn their “trickery” into “truth” presented in such a balance way. “So, do we pay taxes or not?” asked the men in a set up question to Jesus. If He said no then they would have Him guilty of breaking Roman law; if He said yes He would be in opposition to the religious leaders who were continually looking for a loop hole around their adversaries. “Look at the coin. See Caesar’s image on it? Then give Caesar what is His and give God what is His.” That was Jesus’ answer. Cooperate even with an evil and corrupt government as long as it does not directly contradict the will of God. It does not have to be either/or. I can support the government and still be a Christian! The only qualifier seemed to be that in doing so I should not violate the will of God. And Rome—of all powers to be supportive of, they went to war, they killed, they enslaved, they put down religious uprising with force—doesn’t sound very democratic to me! But Jesus still said give them what is due them and don’t worry about it. Just do what is required of you and then get back to focusing on serving me and doing my will. I don’t even have to agree with what they are doing, I just need to obey as far as possible without violating God’s will. No government is going to stand forever anyway—except the kingdom of God! They can have what they need, as long as God gets what He needs—me! And you!
Have a great day being wise with people and with governments,
Paying Tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26)