It appears that since ‘ancient time’ popular thought about the role and legitimacy of ‘taxes’ has been a contentious issue. It also appears that schemes to catch people out saying things that can be used against them at some later date is a long time strategy of humanity. Both are seen within the reading to day from the Gospel of Luke however the focus of this devotional reading is what is said by Jesus about money and God.
I think it will help us process further reflection by clarifying two things. (1) The use of the coin by Jesus is a physical reminder for all who were listening, of the reality of Roman sovereignty at an earthly level. This is not to advance any religious political theory, rather simply acknowledges the presence of a civil government that has the right to sustain the needs of the civil community via contributions from its citizens (see 1 Peter 2:13ff and Romans 13:1-7). (2) God remains sovereign over all else on earth and in heaven. The texts immediately above demonstrate that local earthly rulers have authority only through the will and purpose of God.
Turning our attention to what is being said about God’s sovereignty and what we offer God, Jesus words require us to have an attitude of surrender that sees our earthly allegiance to the legitimate powers in this world while remaining true to God and giving God our primary allegiance. We are to give to God ‘what is God’s’ (vs 25) Jesus summarised the way of life for a believer in this way; Love the LORD your God with your heart soul mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself. We are called by Jesus to put everything we have and experience in this life through that specific ‘grid’ – God first, now and always.. I mentioned earlier the passage of scripture found in Romans 13 in support of how we might respond to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s) but just before this, Paul addresses the matter of our primary response to God. (Rom 12:1-2) Time does not allow for detailed reflection but we can note briefly that followers of Jesus are to expected to submit their financial resources to God for his Kingdom purpose. Such submission helps enable us to test, approve and subsequently DO God’s good pleasing and perfect will. Jesus has told us that were our treasure is, there our heart is also. (see tomorrows devotion for more on this) Our ‘treasure’ must be first and foremost submitted to God, and we will find our hearts desires will also be directed toward God. Render to God what is God’s today.