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Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and give back to God what is God's

"Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give back to God what is God's." 

Ever since the earliest days of the church, I'll bet preachers have been using this Sunday's passage to preach sermons on church - state relationships, or (surprise, surprise), stewardship/annual giving.

Certainly, the issue of church-state relationships is important.

For a book of historical fiction I intend to write, I've long researched martyrs -- people in every age who had to wrestle with the issue of what to do when the values of their government conflicted with the dictates of God and their own conscience. And I can assure you that throughout human history, "church and state" relationships have been impossible to separate.

And obviously stewardship - giving back to God, in thanksgiving, the things that are God's - is important.

Indeed, what we do with our money says as much about our relationship to God, and our trust in God as any other single factor. There's no better way to answer the question, "what do you really put your trust in?" than to challenge yourself to give away ten percent of your income. (See The Falls Church Episcopal's "FAQ on pledging" here).

But there is a more fundamental issue at stake here...and that has to do with what is on the left side of the apostrophe: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the thing that are God's.

Could it be that Jesus is challenging us to ask, "who is your Caesar?" And "what, or who is your God?"

If you are to give the coin to the emperor because it was made in the image of the emperor, what do you give to God because it was made in the image of God?

The answer of course, is you.

All of you.

Your past, your present, your future.

Your hopes, and your worries.

Your failures, and your dreams.

In other words, God doesn't want anything from you.

God wants you.

That kinda puts an annual giving campaign in a whole new light, doesn't it?!

(A link to The Falls Church's full E-news is HERE)

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