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June 15 Give to Caesar and to God

June 15 Mt22.17 Render to CaesarMatt 22:17-21 “Tell us then, what do you think? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought him a denarius. 21 They replied, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, ‘Then give*~ to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’”

The Pharisees came to Jesus with a question: “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus asked for a Roman silver coin with the emperor’s image. He asked the Pharisees’ disciples, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They answered, “Caesar’s.” Jesus replied astutely, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

Paul reworded Jesus’s command in Romans 13:7: “Render therefore to all their due; taxes to whom taxes are due.” This makes it mandatory for believers to pay taxes to any government over them, regardless of its political, religious, or moral stance. Caesar could demand a percentage of their money, but not their souls.

Our financial commitment to and prayers for our governing authorities are “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Tim 2:2–-3). This is our duty to our leaders today. Christians must be the most honest taxpayers in the region for the gospel’s sake.

The question remains: what is our duty to God? Jesus taught, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe . . . and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matt 23:23). In other words, Jesus said not to stop tithing.

Because we were “bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:20), we are to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice . . . which is your reasonable [liturgical or worship] service” (Rom 12:1). God owns everything we have!

Financially, we are to continue doing right (taking care of our families) and giving a tithe to support God’s ministry. Beware: wherever you invest your treasure reveals what your heart desires most (Matt 6:21). How do you demonstrate that Christ’s kingdom is important to you?

“Father, You have placed me in a country that increasingly asks for more of my income. If paying my government its due is pleasing to You, then I will be faithful and bring You delight.”

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