Our scripture this week is Matthew 22:15-22.
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Jesus wants those gathered to know the difference between respect for the government and respect for God. He says “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (v. 21). He asks us to give to God what is His…which is everything, even our very existence.
In His love for us, God created wonderful gifts for our use. He wants us to see that these earthly things only have value when we use them as He intended, for the good of His kingdom. He tells those listening that God wants them to live for Him and for each other.
God knows everything we go through, the burdens we place on each other and the systems we allow. Jesus teaches that we are connected to each other here on earth and our relationships are important to God. Giving Caesar what is his is only temporary, giving ourselves back to God is eternal.
Gracious God, all creation is Yours but in Your love and generosity it is ours to use. Help us to live wisely in the world today that we may be part of the world to come. Amen.