What Belongs to God?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
“Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them.
As Jesus spent time in the Temple courts in the days before his death, some of the Jewish leaders were trying to find a way to have him arrested or even killed. Several came to him with a trick question about taxation. It was a trick because, no matter how Jesus answered, it seemed as if he would be the loser. If he said that Jews should not pay taxes to Caesar, then this act of sedition could get him arrested by the Roman authorities. If, however, Jesus said that the Jews should pay taxes, then many of those who followed him would reject him because they considered Roman taxation to be abhorrent and contrary to the Jewish law.
Jesus’ response to the taxation question amazed his interrogators. First, he had them produce a Roman coin, one that featured the head of Tiberius Caesar and identified him as the son of the god, Augustus Caesar. Then Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar” (12:17). He seemed to be saying, “Since you have a coin that belongs to Caesar, go ahead and give it back to him.” The Greek verb translated here as “give” literally means “give back.” It suggests that the people should go ahead and pay the required tax.
But then Jesus added something that reframed the whole issue: “And give to God what belongs to God” (12:17). How intriguing! It’s as if Jesus were saying that the whole taxation issue wasn’t the main point. What people did with Caesar’s money didn’t matter nearly as much with what they did with that which belonged to God.
So, what belongs to God? Jesus didn’t answer this question in Mark 12, though his conception of the kingdom of God and his call upon people’s lives suggested an answer. Everything, ultimately. In this age, we don’t control everything—like whether we are required to pay taxes. Yet there is much in our life over which we do have charge. This, all of this, we offer to God in love, worship, and service.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Are you giving to God the things that are God’s in your life? How? Are there places you are holding back? Why? What might you give to God today that you didn’t give yesterday?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in faithfulness to you I will continue to pay the taxes I owe, though I must admit I’m not altogether happy about this. More importantly, I am reminded today that I need to give you all that is yours . . . and that is all of me.
So, today, I give you my body and my mind, my hopes and my fears, my work and my play, my relationships and my time alone. I give you my love and my strength. All that I am, Lord, I give you today. Be glorified and honored in everything I do and say, in all of my thoughts and dreams.
All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, because I belong to you, all that I am. Amen.
Building a Platform
The idea of building a platform has become a popular way of talking about about marketing. What does that look like, when you're leading from the soul? So many of us cringe at the word "platform." How can we reframe the whole idea so it makes sense and plays a positive role in the Kingdom of God? What is the right perspective? Can building a platform and building the Kingdom of God co-exist? In this series, Building a Platform, we take a look at what it looks like to embrace marketing while leading from the soul and, at the same time, faithfully stewarding roles, responsibilities, and resources to impact the Kingdom of God.
Featured image above by Julio Chrisostomo. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.