“Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.” 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 20:254-25 (NKJV)]
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. [1 Peter 2:17 (NKJV)]
Hoping to catch Jesus say something that was politically incorrect, the chief priests, scribes and elders sent spies to observe Him. In an attempt to trap our Lord, they asked if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar. Surely, this was a no-win situation for Jesus. If He said to pay taxes to Caesar, He would be denying God’s sovereign reign over Israel and supporting the hated Roman rulers. On the other hand, if He said not to pay taxes, Jesus could be handed over to Herod for treason. Instead, He embarrassed his questioners by pointing out that we have dual citizenship—we must fulfill our obligations to both the government and God.
Although we usually render unto Washington what is theirs on April 15, this year we got three extra days to keep our money. Emancipation Day, commemorating the signing of the Emancipation Act by President Lincoln, was April 16. It’s a legal holiday in Washington, D.C. and, since it fell on a Saturday this year, Friday the 15th became the day offices were closed in our nation’s capital. As to how much we owe the government, we have our 1099s, W-2s, 1040s, TurboTax, Liberty, H & R Block, and various accountants to help us with that.
If today is the day we render unto Washington what is it theirs, when do we give God what is His? Moreover, what and how much should we give to Him? In spite of all the gifts He’s given us, God doesn’t send out W-2s listing our year’s many blessings. He doesn’t supply us with 1040s to fill out nor do we get deductions for medical expenses, charitable donations, daycare, mortgage interest or property taxes. Rather than a CPA or the IRS, we need to consult our Bibles for the answer to those questions. Although we should always remember our tithes and offerings to the church, the list of what we should give God goes far beyond money. We should give Him our worship, service, obedience, praise, love, respect, gratitude, and fidelity. In short, we owe Him everything and not just on Tax Day—we owe Him everything all of the time. While Caesar’s image was on the coin, let’s not forget that we are made in God’s image; it is His face that is stamped upon us. When we give God what is His, we are simply returning our lives to their rightful owner. Although there is no need to worry about a letter from God questioning our expenses or demanding an audit, we must remember that one day, sooner or later, we will all be called in for an accounting.