Thursday, October 16, 2014

What belongs to God?

MATTHEW 22:15-22
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?“ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

I too hear this and stand amazed
and humbled.
"Give to God the things that are God's"
What belongs to God?

Psalm 24 reminds us
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it.
Paul writes in Romans 14
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
What belongs to you, O God?
All that we have.
All that we are.

Lord we stand amazed and humbled.
You took a tricky question about taxes
and made it into a question of our commitment.
Giving a tithe, 10%, seems easy compared to giving our WHOLE selves.

Lord Jesus,
you are a WHOLE self giver.
You committed your living and your dying to God,
even from the cross you said,
"In to your hands I commit my spirit."

I'm reminded of the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own but belong—
body and soul, in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

It's that last phrase Lord,
"makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him."
That's really your point isn't it.
It's not about taxes, or money, or tithing.
The question is:
Am I wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for you?

Only by the power of your Holy Spirit, 
do I dare answer: YES.
May it be so in my life today, Lord.

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