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Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God

20 October 2010


“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.”

– The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 22, verses 15-22. English Standard Version



A little boy received two quarters from his mother–one for himself and one to place in the offering plate at church. As they were walking down the sidewalk to church, he accidentally dropped one, and it rolled into a nearby drain. He peered down through the grates of the drain at the shiny coin on the bottom. When he realized he couldn’t retrieve it, he said, “Well, God–there goes Your quarter.”

Many of us do the same thing. And not only with our money, but with our time and with our other resources. When we come up short on any one of these, we usually end up short-changing God. Each situation like this begs the question, “What’s left for God?”

 When Jesus was asked about the spiritual lawfulness of paying taxes to a secular government (in that case, Rome), His reply was “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” God is not nearly as interested in our money, however, as He is in us personally. God wants all of us –our time, our attention, and our devotion. In fact, if He truely has our devotion, He will have our all.


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