e-Literature

Render unto God What Is God’s

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We were just having a friendly conversation. The local bike shop owner and I were discussing a range of topics from current events to the weather. He suddenly changed the subject: “You know,” he said, “It is tax time, and it is a privilege to pay taxes. I want to help everyone change their mindset. If you’ve earned money, then you should willingly and cheerfully pay your taxes. It isn’t a burden.”
We are in the time of the year again many call “tax season.” Americans from all walks of life set aside time to ‘do their taxes.’ Feelings are varied. Not everyone is as excited about it as my friend. In fact, some even raise the question, “Is it right to pay taxes?” Does the government have the right to collect taxes?
Fortunately, Jesus already answered that question. In Matthew 22, the Pharisees tried to corner Him by asking whether or not it was right to pay tax to Caesar. After requesting to see a coin, He asked, Whose is this image and superscription? “Caesar’s,” they answered. Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
The conversation ended there. But follow Jesus’ logic. Perhaps He wanted them, and us, to understand something more. Give to Caesar because you owe Caesar. You owe Caesar because his image is on the coin in your pocket.
Now follow the parallel thought: Jesus said, Give to God what is God’s. What is God’s? Where did He place His image? He placed it on me. And He placed it on you.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Gen 1:26-27).
There are several things God wanted us to understand when He told us that the eternal, all-wise Godhead chose to make us in His image.
We are the crown of creation and have been given unique responsibilities not given to the animal kingdom (Gen 1:28).
Our life and our breath is sacred and should be valued and carefully protected (Gen 9:4-6).
Since every person is an image bearer, every person deserves our respect (Jas 3:9).
We are not merely created by God, but also deeply loved by God (John 3:16).
And perhaps most importantly, we have a Divine Owner (ICo 6:20).
This raises the question: If God owns us, then what are we rendering to Him? What do we owe him?
We owe Him honor, reverence, and adoration. We owe Him glory, worship and a testimony of praise.
We owe Him not only our bodies given as a living sacrifice but our spirits also, which are His.
We owe Him loyalty and allegiance. We owe him tithes and offerings.
We owe Him our love, our hearts, our wills, our affections, and our own selves also.
We owe Him our time and talents. We owe Him the gifts He has lent to us.
We owe him our businesses and our hobbies, our checking accounts, savings accounts, and retirement accounts.
We owe Him our hopes and our dreams. We owe Him all that we have, all that we are, and all that we hope to be. Why? Because we are His. And as Divine Owner, He stakes a claim to every aspect of our lives.
Hopefully, we have accepted that we owe Caesar, and we render to him cheerfully.
But even more importantly, let us accept that as image bearers of the Almighty, we have a debt we owe to Him. Let us render and surrender joyfully unto Him.