Saturday, January 31, 2009


I have been reading on Riverview's chapter a weekday text since it started in January and it's been great. I prefer the hard copy rather to web site.

One of the best parts is reading the chapter before bed with Sarah. I'm not sure who's getting more out of it, her or me. When I read these familiar stories with her, it reminds me of the first time I read them in college and how incredible all of these happenings and Jesus' wisdom are.

Last night as we read we read Matthew 22.

Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested.They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply amazed them, and they went away.

It's easy to drive right by this one and see it as a snappy answer to a trick question designed to get Jesus arrested, but because the second half of Jesus' answer was pointed out to me in the past, I get stopped in my tracks by "give to God what belongs to God".

If it's made in Caesar's likeness, give it to Caesar. If it's made in God's likeness, give it to God. Our lives, our entire being is God's. Period. Without him, we would never exist. Without his constant aid, we are nothing. How deluded we are to think we can live "our own" lives. It was never ours, and never will be.

Give to God what belongs to God.

If this idea scares you, your not alone, it scares me too. I don't do it. I find every available excuse not to. The greatest help I've had in getting comfortable with the giving myself completely to God has come from John Piper. He passionately argues that God's greatest glory and our maximum joy are a unified point in space, not two ends of a continuum. Christian Hedonism, Forgive the Label, But Don't Miss the Truth is a good summary of the principle. You can spend quite some time plumbing the depth of this point, so be sure to bring your SCUBA tank.

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