Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17 (NIV, 1984)
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV, 1984)
"The only things certain in life are death and taxes."
No doubt you have heard this quote, originally suggested by Benjamin Franklin; especially during the hectic and stressful season that is tax time. And if you are like me, you’ve probably heard a hundred people ask you if you have finished doing your taxes. Americans are vividly aware of the consequences of not fulfilling their financial obligation to our federal and state governments, regardless of how we feel about those agencies’ performance over the previous year. Sometimes the burden of paying taxes can cause us to question whether or not it is just to do so.
It may surprise you, but Jesus had an occasion to comment on the tax system. He was challenged one day about the very question of whether or not godly people should pay their taxes; especially to a government that was so obviously unjust, and uninterested in the things of God (sound familiar?). Jesus’ answer was not what anyone expected, but it provides some insight into how God thinks when it comes to what is due and to whom.
Jesus said to, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” In other words, there is a payment that is due even of the most unrighteous of leaders. But there is also a payment that is due a most righteous God. What is due Caesar may be money in the form of taxes, but God deserves so much more than your money. He deserves your heart, your adoration, your undivided attention to His plan for your life.
The Psalmist understood this principle hundreds of years before Jesus’ proclamation when he writes directly from God that we are to, “Be still and know that I am God” The literal meaning is to stop flailing about. We are to put an end to our relentless endeavors to fulfill our selfish ambition and instead come to an understanding of God and Who He is. And it is only when we are still that we can gain that kind of insight.
Interestingly, the Psalmist doesn’t stop there. He continues God’s words by stating that God will be exalted among the nations and throughout the earth. In other words, there is an absolute guarantee that God will be exalted, whether or not we join in the celebration. So while Old Ben Franklin thought that death and taxes were the only sure things in life, the Word of God reminds us that it is God’s glory and exaltation that is sure.
Are you living your life with the goal of exalting God? Does God get what’s coming to Him from you? He is going to get it whether or not you join in, so why not make your life a daily exercise in lifting up the name of God? My guess is that if you do, you will be blessed - kind of like doing your taxes and finding out you get a refund; only God’s gifts are eternal.
Don’t let Caesar get your best; give your best to the One Who offers you His best.
Posted on Thu, April 19, 2012
by John Hill