Not long ago we had tax day in the United States. We had a debt to pay. All of our taxes for the previous year came due on April 15. Some of us may be getting a refund because our tax debt was already paid. Many, maybe even most of us, however, still had a tax debt that we needed to pay out to our government.
Some of us may try to finagle or, at least, creatively fill out our tax forms to ensure that the amount we owe is doing some version of what I call: “The Tax Limbo Dance.” You know: “How Low Can You Owe?” Some of us may even choose to completely ignore our debt owed – ignore our responsibility to pay our government-determined tax amount. Determining in our own minds that it is we – not the government, nor anyone else – who decide what we do with our money and everything else that belongs to us.
Well, maybe some people will get away with the creative finagling in figuring the amount of tax debt they owe. Others may seemingly get away with disregarding their debt altogether. Whatever our attitudes and our subsequent actions are regarding the payment of our taxes, our Lord Jesus has something to say to us not only about what we need to give to our governments, but something much more important about what we need to give to God.
“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” – Matthew 22:21
Jesus is telling us here that we each need to fulfill our responsibilities to the governments under which we live. And yet far beyond that, Jesus is challenging us to really think about what actually belongs to God. And Jesus is calling us to act faithfully in giving back to God all that belongs to God.
You and your accountant (or maybe Turbo Tax) figured out the debt you owe in taxes. As for figuring out what belongs to God, God makes that perfectly clear.
The earth is the LORD‘s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it! – Psalm 24:1
All that exists, all people everywhere, all that we have, all that we are, all of our very lives truly belong to God! No figuring out deductions here. No finagling at all. Everything belongs to God.
And, Oh! Our God really does want us to live, knowing and believing, the truth that we belong to Him! Our loving God desires the very best for our lives. And that comes to us when we give our lives fully back to the One, our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us! Jesus accepted the full responsibility of paying the full price of our full debt owed to God. Believing this truth, living in this truth, is our way to “give to God what is God’s.” This is truly debt free living!