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Monday, June 20, 2011

Giving God What is His

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. (Matthew 22: 20-22 NIV 2011)
So often we read this passage around tax time and focus on how Jesus tells us to pay our taxes, as required by the government, but this story has a "flip side."  Jesus was speaking much more directly about mankind, and how they belong to God.  Just as the coin had Caesar's face on it, the human being is made "in the image of God," (Genesis 9:6), and therefore owes God their entire being.

What does this mean?  Though God has the entire world and all of its money in His possession, He has found it unsatisfying, even lonely.  He wants something only we can give, and that is our friendship, our love, and our obedience.  He can make followers who have no choice but to obey Him, but what He wants is people who obey Him because they want to, and because they want Him.

Today I woke up thinking about all the things I could do to increase my income right now.  Like many people around the world, I was letting my work steal my focus.  Worry can do that to us.  I had to take a moment to remember that work that results in money is necessary in this world, but it began as a punishment to Adam (Genesis 3: 17-19), to teach mankind a lesson.  Adam thought that, as a god in his own right, he could save himself and meet all of his own needs without God's help, but God made him work so that he would be humbled.  Human hands cannot save us; even in work we need God's hands to help our work prosper.

What God wants us to value is Him, not money and all the things it brings.  He even made Caesar and all of his denarii.  He takes care of us, even when we haven't humbled ourselves enough to admit it yet.

Today I am taking a break from money-bringing work to honor God with my hands in a blog post.  I want to challenge you to step back from your money-pursuing thoughts and praise God for His provision in your life.  I am asking you to change your thinking, not your work ethic.  Please don't do something that gets you fired!  When you receive praise for all your hard work, I challenge you to remember the God who prospers your hands, and who daily makes success possible.  He cares more about you than all the riches in the world!  Ask Him to show you His hand in your work, and to take away the worry about things that cannot save.  He will provide.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. (Psalm 127: 1, 2 NIV 2011)


Kamal said...

Thank you for the timely post.