Monday, July 31, 2006

Giving to God

A thought occurred to me today. Why do we always seem to ask, "How much do I have to give to God?" It is as if we need some reason to not give a little something so we can keep that little something for ourselves. Oh how selfish my motivations can be!

I am struck this morning by Jesus' statement to the Pharisees in Matthew 22:15ff. Though there are definitely political overtones to them asking whether they should pay taxes to Caesar or not, they were worried about maintaining their own well-being as the religious leaders of the time. Jesus saw right through their duplicity.

He also struck at the heart of their objection...keeping a little something for themselves. They wanted to have the best, the honor of the people, the respect of the people, the appearance of true righteousness. In all, they wanted God out of the picture because they were busy showing off themselves.

When Jesus says, "Give to Caesar's what is Caesar's, and to God's what is God's" he made a spiritual challenge to a political challenge. The Pharisee's challenged his political allegiances to the government. In response Jesus called them on their spiritual commitment to God. In essence, Jesus told them to decide what is best to give knowing that they were holding their political allegiances high. From the perspective of the crowd, the Pharisee's already told were their allegiances lay...

The following chapter confirms some of Jesus' thoughts in this regard. The pronounces "woes" to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Their own hypocrisy condemns them as they miss the true point of what it means to give to God.

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