When Jesus said, “Render unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” we automatically think about money.
We have to pay taxes. We should give some money to God. Right?
Better look a little closer.
The famous conversation began when a group that didn’t like Jesus tried to trap him. If they could get him to go on record for paying the high Roman taxes, it wouldn’t help his popularity. If he didn’t pay taxes, he would be branded a rebel. It’s never a good thing to be on the bad side of the government.
But Jesus didn’t take the bait. Instead, he talked about images.
The story is recorded in Matthew 22:15-22, but its foundation is built on one of the first lessons of scripture.
When given a coin, Jesus asked his opponents, “Whose image is on this?” Pay attention to the word “image.”
Obviously, the Roman emperor had stamped his image on his coins. So Caesar had a right to claim Roman money as his own. He provided services to the Roman empire, and his subjects would pay for these services through taxes.
Caesar’s image … Caesar’s property.
So go back to the story of Creation. In whose image were you made?
His image … His property.
God doesn’t want your money. He wants you. He wants your time, talents, treasures, children, grandchildren, automobiles, tools, diet, exercise routine, entertainment choices, vacation schedule, sleep habits … absolutely everything.
Come Sunday, maybe you give an offering to your church as a symbolic recognition of this incredible truth. I hope you do. But come Monday, I hope you remember that God has always wanted much, much more than your money.
He wants – and deserves – all of you.