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  • Writer's pictureTrey Harper

Whose Likeness?

“Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar's.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” And they marveled at him. (Mark 12.14-17)

The first lesson is the direct answer Jesus gives; pay the taxes the government requires. Still, God’s children wrestle with anxiety about what our governments do with the money we pay them. Honestly, it is difficult to know that as citizens we fund sin. However, God is in control and those leaders will be called into account for their actions.

The second lesson is the extra wording that Jesus gives to the Pharisees: “…to God the things that are God’s.” -that is, made in the image of God. Long story short: that’s you! Genesis 1.27 tells us that God created us in His own image. We belong to God and should be “taxing” ourselves in His service. So, what percentage does God get of your day? How much of our time, effort, speech, conduct, etc… do we pay toward the King of kings?

Tertiarily, Jesus notes that there is a separation of the two items. The physical and the spiritual. The physical? Let it worry about itself. Our focus, as image bearers of God, is the kingdom. Full circle we have arrived at Jesus’ message on anxiety: Seek first the Kingdom of God. Is there a divide in your life?

So much effort can be easily wasted in worrying about how this life will play out. “How much month will be left at the end of the money”? But the earth will still be spinning (Lord willing). And unlike on tax-day your mortgage is not a deductible you can claim for your soul. Worry about a soul. Worry about a sister, or brother who is struggling, worry about being effective in your ministering to the lost. Give to God the that which is His. Give Him you.


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