It’s tax time. Time to render unto Caesar. You know where this comes from. The teachers of the law were trying to trap Jesus and they thought they had the perfect question to do that. So they sent a couple of their interns to ask Him in front of the people about paying taxes to Caesar. It was a controversial matter. The Jews had to pay a temple tax and then, as an occupation of the Roman Empire, a Roman tax as well. Many protested paying the Roman tax, so they knew they had Him. If He said not to pay it, they could turn Him over to the Roman authorities; if He said to pay it, He would lose popularity with the people.
So they started off with the worst case of brown-nosing ever recorded, undoubtedly to set Him up for the big fall He was about to take in front of the people, “‘We know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. [Yada, yada, yada.] Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?’”
Jesus replied, “‘Show me the coin used for paying the tax… Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’
‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.
“Then he said to them, ‘So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’” (Matthew 22:15-21) End of story.
We marvel at this wisdom, just as they did, and we talk about our responsibility to our own “Caesar,” but how often do we think about rendering to God what is God’s?” What does that even mean?
It could mean many things. It could mean rendering our tithes and our offerings to Him; it could mean worshiping Him in all that we do; it could mean glorying in the beauty of His creation; it could mean giving our lives to Him in service. It could mean all of these things, but I got to thinking about this and started to wonder about something else. If the image of Caesar on a coin placed a rightful sense of ownership and proper allegiance to the state, where do we find the image of God in the world, if not on all of the people He has created, upon whom He has stamped His image? Does not every person we meet, then, indicate God’s ownership, and call forth our allegiance to Him? That would truly be rendering unto God what is God’s.
So look for Him in everyone you meet today. He’s there. The image is implanted in everyone. And it calls forth our allegiance and reminds us of His ownership. It matters not that people don’t know it; we know it, and that calls for us to treat them accordingly as bearers of the image of God.