Month: November 2017

[JUST A THOUGHT || What belongs to God? 

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Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. (Matthew 22:17-21)

In a world all too driven by the material, it is so easy to take the above passage at the superficial level.

A question about whether or not to pay taxes is rendered plain. The questioner seeks to hold Jesus for speaking against Caesar; He flips the coin and lays a stumbling block at their feet – give unto God what belongs to God. 

Christ came with a new world order;  a new message that gives credence to the Father only. Yet, somehow by the traditions of men we render God commandments void. We make them of no effect when when we focus on half an leave the other half untaught an undone. We are no more concerned with building the walls of Jerusalem, and going beyond laying the foundation of the Temples, we are more about our own businesses; building our walls, putting roofs to our houses and the likes. We forget the purpose for the liberty we enjoy: life: freedom from bondage, that His people shall call Him God, and He shall call them sons. But we have stopped at foundation level, we have left th weightier matter undone – perfecting holiness.

We are all to familiar with Malachi, where God tells the people, you have robbed me for you have not given me tithes and offering. We ignore the earlier chapters of the book where he talks about unrequited love, honour not given and reverence being withheld. I remember all to clearly, once a colleague shared a story of her husbands dream with me. In the dream he found himself being pursued, shouts of “thief, thief, thief, thief” as he ran from the mob. He woke worried, and shared the dream with his wife. After a few hours of soul searching they conclude to pray. After the prayer the wife asks the husband “have you been paying your tithe?” He admits to having failed in keeping with this duty. 

I wanted to ask, is it only in tithe and offering we (can) rob God. But I mused to myself what other areas do we rob God? How would we not rob God, when we do not know what belongs to Him. How would I not steal from Him, when I cannot say with certainty what is His?

In the book of Malachi, these burdens of the Lord are shared with the prophet: 

1: I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? (V1)

2: A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear (reverence)? (V6)

3: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? (3:8)
Let’s go over these again: He is robbed of love He deserves; of honour he should receive;  and fear or reverence that should be accorded to Him.

Yet, when He asks will a man rob God? Focusing on tithes and offering, all too confidently we cry out, all these I have kept from my youth.

We (choose to) forget He told the rich young man “go, sell your possessions and give to the poor… . Then come, follow me (Matt 19:16 – 21).” In another verse he says “ye have omitted justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23) NIV”. If he wanted the money he would not have said pursue righteousness or ask for 10 percent as tithe. 

In the key text for this piece, He tells the Pharisees, the money and the property which you buy with the money all belong to the man whose image is on the denarius  – Caesar, so give it to him.

In reference to Jesus’ reply of “Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”,  Ravi Zacharias says “the man should have said, what (then) belongs to God? And Jesus would have said whose image is on you?” In another podcast he says “…in whose image are you made?”

God asks for 10 percent of your earnings but says you should worship with your whole (100%) Spirit, heart, mind and might.

Let’s take this William Blake’s poem in closing: 
The Lamb 

Little Lamb who made thee 

         Dost thou know who made thee 

Gave thee life & bid thee feed. 

By the stream & o’er the mead; 

Gave thee clothing of delight, 

Softest clothing wooly bright; 

Gave thee such a tender voice, 

Making all the vales rejoice! 

         Little Lamb who made thee 

         Dost thou know who made thee 
         Little Lamb I’ll tell thee, 

         Little Lamb I’ll tell thee!

He is called by thy name, 

For he calls himself a Lamb: 

He is meek & he is mild, 

He became a little child: 

I a child & thou a lamb, 

We are called by his name. 

         Little Lamb God bless thee. 

         Little Lamb God bless thee.

Thanks for stopping by!

You can listen to the podcasts that got me thinking and writing, what belongs to God, here:Whose Image is on you and Made in His Image.

This Just A Thought series is inspired by Ravi Zacharias’ Just A Thought one minute serial podcasts on the RZIM website.