Strangers in This World’s Kingdoms

Daily God Walk for Sunday, September 11, 2011

 “Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  – Matthew 22:19-21

 The Pharisees came to Jesus asking whether they should pay taxes to Caesar or not. The question was about more than taxes and was asked to trick Jesus into saying something that would offend the prevailing government or that would compromise his position with the Jews.

Jesus perceived their purpose and made a very cogent point about co-existing with an earthly kingdom. He basically said the inscription on the coins shows who is owed tribute. The question was about taxes, but there is a larger question to be asked.

How should we be living in this world? We are strangers waiting to be taken to our true home (Hebrews 11:13). All that is in this world from the money to the mountains is temporary. This entire world of physical existence will at some point pass away, but we who have been born into the kingdom of God will outlive all the kingdoms of this world. However, we do owe certain courtesies and obligations to the world which gives us residence.

As long as we are in this world we are guests and should treat all that is in it with respect as we would expect guests in our home to treat us. There is a warning, however, that we do not become so comfortable with the kingdoms of this world that we forget we are from another world and we are bound to return to that world.

This world needs government to prevent chaos and we must respect that. Governments of this world need to charge taxes so they can operate and we need to respect that. We also must keep in mind that even though we are guests here we cannot allow the way this world thinks and its systems to become important in our life. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s – but soul, body, mind and spirit are to be given to God.

 Prayer: Grant me the grace to give to the world what is theirs and to give to you what is yours, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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