Mark 12:13-17 (NIV) — “Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch Him in His words. They came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?’ But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. ‘Why are you trying to trap me?’ He asked. ‘Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.’ They brought the coin and He asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’ And they were amazed at Him.”Ha-ha-ha, two things instantly popped into my mind. One was the scene in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” when Admiral Ackbar says, “It’s a trap!” And of course the King James Version, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
So, really? You don’t think this is actually about money, right?
I can’t help it, but my mind’s gate just flooded with Scriptures, but as with channel culverts or perhaps the mental image of a Roman aqueduct controlled and channeled.
Have you heard this saying? “Jesus spoke about money more than any other topic.”
Hmmm. After I had heard that several times, I had to search that out. I’m no great researcher, and the internet is full of those who are. But allow me to jot down some basics.
Eleven out of 39 parables talk about money. Another statistic given is that one out of seven of the verses of those parables mention money.
Talking about money and teaching about money or using money to teach a principle — each of those are different and it’s not quite the same thing. So, the saying is misleading.
In the King James Version (KJV) 1 Timothy 6:10 — “for the love of money is the root of all evil.”
I’m quite certain that’s one of the many verses or passages of Scripture that is often misquoted or misused. In my personal understanding, that verse isn’t saying money is evil but the “love of money” is the point.
In our world economy, it’s easy to see the effects while it’s also important to understand the difference. It’s a natural need to have money to operate, to feed ourselves, our family and friends, to have shelter and heat. Nothing wrong with being comfortable and having pleasures and comforts. The key to that for me was the “love of money.”
There’s a couple of verses in 1 Corinthians that flow through my thoughts: 1 Corinthians 1:24 — “But to those God has called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
Verse 30 says, “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
Again, personally I think these are the type of thoughts and actions our Lord intended when He said, “Render to God the things of God.”
I read our opening passage thinking, watching and hearing such an event while the Scripture said, “they came to Jesus to catch Him in His words.” But the passage ended with “And they were amazed at Him.”
Ha-ha-ha, the envy of our modern-day political debaters, I’m sure.
I’m not a health and wealth preacher, but I do preach blessed to be a blessing. A Scripture I trust in carries the words of Christ. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I come that they may have life and have it to the full (more abundantly).”
In Psalm 42:7 it says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls.”
I understand that as speaking about the deep things of God.
I hope we use money as the tool it was intended for — to build, to provide and to protect as the blessing of prosperity.
“Render unto God the things that are God’s.” A biblical guardrail of guidance for me is Matthew 6:33 — “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”
May each of us be a blessing in our word and deed that we may be blessed to be a blessing.