What Belongs to Who?

Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him. – Mark 12:17

Jesus gave this answer in response to a question about paying taxes to the occupying Roman government.  Rome not only conquered much of the world, but they managed to economically unify their empire through the use money.  This created a problem taking place in the Temple (Mark 11:15-19).  People only had Roman coinage, but the Temple would only take Hebrew coinage.  Thus, when people came to make their offering, they would have to exchange their script…for a fee.  Also, for the religious leaders to use the money they had to transfer it back to Roman coinage…for a fee.

Money unifies people.  It is an implicit agreement between parties.  It occupies much of culture…every culture.  If money is valuable, then it must be.  This is circular logic.  Money is only valuable when someone says it is valuable and when other people agree that it is valuable.  It is a tenuous agreement.

The Pharisees and Herodians attempted to trap Jesus, but Jesus knew their schemes and pointed beyond the argument about taxes and governments.  He nothing-ed their question.  He pointed to THE reality.  The Kingdom of Heaven operates outside the structural control of humanity.  Jesus recognizes that one must work within human confines, but he then points to a truth.  The real aspects of life do not belong to humanity, they belong to God.  Give to God what is His.  People marveled at this teaching.  This teaching demands contemplation.

First, there are things in my life that seem important, but are shallow.  Money is clearly one of them.  What are the others?  Second, there are aspects of my life that belong to God.  What are they?  I must know what I need to render to God, then I need to give it to Him.

What in your life is God’s?  Are you giving it over to Him?  What prevents us from rendering these things to God?
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3 Comments


Bruce Nolen - February 21st, 2024 at 9:55am

Everything about me belongs to God; afterall, He created me. I reluctantly pay taxes, because not like years ago, our government has failed to adhere to practical budgeting and operating within its means. I feel there is way too much wasteful spending. Enough said.

Brian Hays - February 21st, 2024 at 11:26am

Yes, I agree. Over history “many Caesars” have been established that require citizens by law to pay. Additionally, I struggle at times with things like estate and succession planning, ie holding back some of what God has provided, to care for me and my family’s future.

Don - February 21st, 2024 at 10:53am

Thanks for your thoughts. I have found that large governments never spend money well. I am glad Jesus reminds us of a greater spiritual concern.

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