Mathew 22:15-22 (MSG)That’s when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging. They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in, to ask, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students. So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece.“This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?” They said, “Caesar.” “Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads.
I often ask myself, “If the only thing I do as an American is that I vote, am I being the best American I can be? Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Thinking that such is only thing we can do to “do our part” is not only a fallacy but an excuse. We can always do more! We have the responsibility to act when it is especially required of us to do so. Jesus said to give the earthly government what it requires but to give God what God requires of us.
When we lift our voice against injustice, in defense of basic human rights to live, love and have peace for a brighter future, we are doing what God wants. Your offering of obedience in all service is necessary and the way you do it matters.
Giving and doing in both Faith and in the world, are not two different things. God also calls us to be the light in the world; the salt of the earth. That requires something of us.
Giving to the government is not only the paying of taxes and voting. Giving to God is not just your offering or vote in your local congregation. Jesus knew that the God’s Kingdom was the goal for it to take root despite any man-made empire. If all you do as a Christian is pray in silence, are you being the best Christ follower you can be? Give what belongs to God; your service on earth as it would in ‘heaven’.
Prayer: God help me give you the best of me. Make me understand that giving and doing in excellence all that is demanded of me honors you. Amen.
Bio: The Rev. Edwin Perez, Jr. is a member and deacon of United Church on the Green UCC in New Haven, CT. He was ordained through the Apostolic Fellowship International Ministries (AFIM) as a social justice minister within the Latinx & LGBTQ communities of New Haven, CT.