Meditations on Matthew 22:21

Transcript of Midweek Meditations podcast episode aired on Wednesday, 21st October 2020.

In my house, a common source of fights between the kids are toys. Specifically, when one child takes the toy of another child and refuses to give it back or share it. In most cases, the fight breaks out because it was taken without asking.

We’re possessive people, aren’t we? We might differ about the things we get possessive about, but each one of us has something.

As we meditate on God’s word, we’re reminded that the Christian reality is that we own nothing of our own. We find everything comes from the hand of God.

So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.

Matthew 22:21 (NIV)

These words of Jesus come in response to a trap laid by the Jewish leaders. They were under foreign rule, the rule of the Roman Empire. They tried to test Jesus by questioning whether it was right to pay taxes to a foreign power.

Jesus responds by asking for a coin. He asks whose image and signature was on the coin. The reply comes, “Caesar.” So he replies, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

On one hand, Jesus is simply saying pay your taxes. But he’s also saying something deeply profound and challenging, “Give to God what is God’s.” Just let that sink in for a moment—what belongs to God?

Everything. Everything belongs to God. It’s not just your money, your job. It’s not just your possessions—your home, your car your stuff. It’s everything. It’s your life—family, kids, friends, and relationships. It’s all of you—your heart, mind, body, and soul. Everything. Everything belongs to God.

When we give everything to God, it’s not just an empty sacrifice. The taxes we pay to the government, typically, are used for the benefit of the public. Our offering to God—yes, are an act of sacrifice and worship—but they are an offering that God uses to be a blessing to others.

What can you give to God? Rather, maybe the question needs to be: what do you need to surrender and give to God? Before you get overwhelmed, start with one thing. What can you give to God? Take some to pray to ask God what part of your life you can give to him. So, let’s do that.

Prayer

Awesome God, Creator and Source of all things, we worship you. We thank you for the gift of life you give to us this day. There is nothing we can do to repay your generosity in life.

Yet, we seek to give to you what belongs to you. Help us see what we hold back from you. Holy Spirit, shine your light into our hearts and convict us of the things that belong to you. Help us to surrender these things to you, the things that belong to you.

As we give our lives to you, may it be a blessing to others so that they might see the life found in our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, amen.