“Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?”Luke 20:22
This challenge of civil law and personal liberty was presented by spies (verse 20) in order to trap Jesus. Living in an occupied land, should the orthodox followers of God pay tribute – taxes – to Caesar or not? It looked like an innocent question, but the wisdom of God was made manifest in Jesus. He saw straight through their subterfuge and struck at the heart of the matter.
Jesus pointed them to the image of Caesar stamped on a coin and said they should give to Caesar what was his due. That speaks directly to those who use tax evasion schemes today in order to escape bearing their personal social responsibility. Jesus says directly “pay up”, and that they should also bring tribute to God by recognizing what it is that bears God’s image.
What exactly is it that bears the stamp of God’s image? We might point to the miracle of life itself, the beauty of nature, a sunset, birdsong, a majestic landscape or seascape, but what Jesus was actually referring to was YOU! You are made in the image of God. He designed you, called your name, seeks to make you aware of His love in a zillion ways. He sent His Son to carry your sins away and deliver you out of the kingdom of darkness and into His glorious light. He gives you true status; you are called a child of God. You – yes you – are the apple of His eye!
So, pay your due taxes to the State but also bring tribute to your maker. Give to God what is His due. Bring yourself to Him in worship and service.
Whereas taxes are mandatory, worship and honour come out from a heart decision, a choice, a commitment. Why not make, or renew, that choice now? Perhaps you could pray like this:
Father God, thank you for making me your child; for choosing me, loving me and sustaining me through the good times and the bad. Please accept my offering of worship as I say thank you. Please reveal more of Yourself to me so that I might see more of You, love You more, and show me who You say I am. Help me to live a life that honours you. Amen.