Today’s chapter has a ton of Jesus’ most well known teachings. This only makes sense because if the gospel writers knew anything, it’s that Jesus did a lot of good teachings during his final week on earth. Among these is Jesus speaking on paying taxes.
The Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes attempted to get Jesus in trouble with the Roman government by asking him if it was right to pay the poll tax. They clearly expected him to answer “No!”, but this is not they way he chose to answer. Instead he says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (12:17 NASB). While I feel as though most of the time this text is used to teach about submitting to authority, today we’re using it to show that we can’t hold anything back from God!
There are two things in this world; things of the world and things of God. They best way to tell the difference (to me at least) is to know what things go away with time. As the prophet Isaiah says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8 NASB). So God wants us to give to the world the things of the world, that must eventually fade away. However, He wants us to give Him what is eternal. To put it another way, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (12:30 NASB).
So while we can give our tithes and offerings, we can tell people about God and Jesus Christ, etc., what God truly wants from us is for us to give our whole hearts into worship. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2 NASB).
Give the world what it deserves. Give it time at your job. Give it money. Give it submission to authority over you (so long as it doesn’t conflict with God). But never give it your worship! Worship is reserved solely for God. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7). It’s right there in the first Commandment. The second doesn’t even want us making idols so that we aren’t tempted to worship that instead of God! When Moses delivered the Ten Commandments, God was telling us that He wants and deserves our worship, nothing else deserves it more than Him!
So worship God today (What?! It’s Tuesday!). I love to pick up my guitar in the mornings and just sing Him a song. But even if you don’t play music, turn on some Christian music/radio. And even beyond that just read your Bible and pray. That is the most intimate kind of worship. Just praise God for all He has done for you. Even if it’s a hard day. Worship is most meaningful when we just don’t feel like it. Because what we are saying then is “No matter how bad I feel, or how angry I am with You, You are greater than all of it and worthy of my praise!”