Slightly Obsessed #079 "Made In His Image Part 2" (Wednesday Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2014-08-20 11:26:55
And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” - Mark 12:17
They slithered into the Temple quietly, snakes coiled in waiting for the Master. This group of Pharisees and Herodians had been sent by the Jewish leaders to catch Jesus in a statement appearing to foster rebellion against Roman authority.
The Pharisees were a sect of the Jews. The Herodians were a political party of affluent Jews who backed Herod Antipas, the ruler in Galilee during Jesus’ ministry.
They put on their most sincere faces and circled Jesus as they sprung the question.
“Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay or not pay?”
Jesus saw the trap. He wasn’t fooled by their deceit. He asked them to bring Him a denarius. This common first century coin would have represented a day’s wages to most people. Jesus didn’t even have that much money to His name. Someone produced one for Him, and He asked, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”
They were confused. Jesus had neatly sidestepped their trap. It was obvious whose inscription was on the coin. “Caesar’s,” they answered.
I can still remember the first time I read this passage in the Bible many years ago. The Bible tells us that those present that day were “amazed” at His answer. I was no less stunned two thousand years later.
Give to Caesar that which bears Caesar’s image. Give to God that which bears His.
The Greek word for “render” actually means “to pay back.” It implies a debt is owed to the one whose image is reflected. Money bears the image of government. So we must pay our taxes in order to honor God. Jesus didn’t make a distinction between fair and unfair taxation. In that same way, any debts we incur that are repaid in currency must be honored.
Our souls, on the other hand, bear the image of God. Our bodies belong to God. Our minds belong to God. Our children belong to God.
The Church belongs to God.
To God we owe our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The Bible commands us “To present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
To others, we owe a debt of love. We are commanded to “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.” (Romans 13:8) This is not a Scripture forbidding the borrowing of money, but an admonition to pay all debts when they are due.
True submission to God’s authority rises above personal and national politics. It both frees us and reminds us of where our true allegiance should lie. Now, at a time when more and more people live for themselves and withdraw from the lives of others, God commands us to give.
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
Slightly Obsessed #186: When the Path Ahead Is Fearsome
The room was dark and shadowed, the only sound within its walls the rhythmic whoosh of the ventilator beside my son’s bed. I sat on an uncomfortable chair jammed into one corner of the room. In the faint light that fell from the window across the pages of the Bible I held, I tried to corral my stampeding fears long enough to find some comfort from God’s Word. Outside the door of his room, a cacophony of voices from the nurses’ station jarred our shattered nerves.
Slightly Obsessed #185: Clean
They were just turning down the lights in the sanctuary as I awkwardly slid into a seat near the back of the church. I was tired and soiled by the previous week. Life had been especially difficult, and I had not handled the pressure well. I felt completely unhinged spiritually and wholly unworthy to be in God’s presence. The worship team began with one of my favorite songs, and I hoped I didn’t look as vulnerable as I felt.
Slightly Obsessed #184: The Mark of Maturity
The infant finishes his bottle and smiles contentedly up at his mother. A trickle of milk courses down from the corner of his mouth. It’s a sweet scene because that’s what babies do. They are born with immature digestive systems and no teeth. Mother’s milk or formula are necessary for the child to survive and thrive. As they grow, their teeth begin to come in, their digestive abilities mature, and they can tolerate solid food.
Slightly Obsessed #183: He Knows Your Name
All sheep look alike to me. Defenseless, timid, and nondescript creatures, they tend to wander and get into trouble. When one falls, it needs help to get back on its feet. Its purpose in life is mostly to eat and make more sheep. It’s easy to see why Jesus equated them to humans. A line of sheep looks like a sea of wool and blank stares, huddled in a timid group behind their leader.
Slightly Obsessed #182 "When Speaking the Truth Makes You the Enemy"
The apostle Paul loved the people of God. After his conversion to Christ, he spent his life not only establishing churches, but also ministering to their needs. He often had the unpleasant duty of confronting issues that threatened the fledgling church, and his letters to the Galatians and to the Corinthians were especially aimed at keeping the churches rooted in the faith.
Slightly Obsessed #181 "The Moment before the Moment of Revelation"
The movie Ten Commandments famously depicted the rise, fall, and restoration of the Hebrew man who would one day lead his people out of Egypt. Set afloat as a baby in a basket to escape the wrath of Egypt, Moses was found by an Egyptian princess and unwittingly restored to his family to be raised as royalty. He was a man with a foot in two worlds, and his choice to follow the faith of his birth family cost him a king’s inheritance.