Friday, July 1, 2016

Giving To God

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away. Matthew 22:15-22

I remember playing Monopoly for hours and cringing when pulling a card that demanded I pay the bank some money. I like buying properties, especially railroads, much, much more. We would wile away rainy summer days trying to win at being rich and controlling. Today, I still wince when I look at the taxes we pay. I also know that children get educated, streets are safer, elders have care - these taxes provide needed services and support for us all.

Jesus is being entrapped again. The religious leaders wanted to catch him in a legal battle. They wanted him to show his heresy by saying the emperor was the highest law, or get him into legal trouble by saying taxes didn't need to be paid. His answer to them was really, "grow up!" As adults were are expected to participate fully in our common life, support our local and national communities. We are also expected to participate fully in our religious communities, local and world wide. God invites us to understand healthy faith as being present and real to both God and community.

Today I ask God to help me be grateful to take my place and do my part for the support of our communities. May we all be dedicated to a life of service, not withdrawing but fully present carry the Lord of God wherever we go.

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