Luke 20:1-26; Genesis 35; Genesis 36; Psalm 27
“And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’” (Luke 20:25 NKJV)
A friend overheard his eight-year-old son talking to his playmate. He was complaining that with his birthday being on April 15, he was going to have to pay taxes on his birthday every year. Talk about pre-planning your misery! We do complain about taxes though. That’s an American tradition ever since Americans decided to switch to coffee instead of tea because of that tax thing. No matter which side of the political aisle that you’re on, you could make a case for your taxes paying for things that you think are immoral. You think we got it bad, the Jews in Jesus’s day had to pay taxes to the Roman tax collectors. Many of the Pharisees thought it was unlawful to pay taxes because supported the occupying Roman forces. The idea that they had to pay taxes to support the Roman army occupying their land was galling. Since they had lost a few battles of wit along the way, they finally had an idea to get Jesus: taxes. The folks in power always use taxes to get they guy they want. So, they asked Him what seemed to be a simple statement: “Is it legal to pay taxes to the Romans or not.” The trap was that if Jesus said it was illegal to pay taxes, they could take Him straight to Pilate, while if He said it was lawful, then all the tax hating people would turn against Him. Jesus turned the question back on them by telling them to give to God what belongs to God, and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
We could argue about how those words should affect our taxes today, but we wouldn’t come to a consensus since we have so many different views on the role of government in our world today, and so many different views on the role of God, and His people, also. The point, though, is that we often have dual loyalties in our world, including loyalty due to God and country. No loyalty should surpass our loyalty to God, but when we put God first, we can approach those other loyalties with the proper perspective. Where do your loyalties lie? Do you put God first in everything, or does He sometimes take second place? Plan for this day to be a day when you put God first in everything.
Lord, it’s so easy to put other things ahead of You: spouse, children, country, or job for example. Teach me how to put You first in everything and experience greater joy in those other relationships.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.