Thursday, July 24, 2014

Everything Belongs to God

Scripture Reading: Luke 20:20-25
He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to him. But everything that belongs to God must be given to God.” (Lk. 20:23-25 NLT)
The dining room table was filled with shoe boxes of checks, receipts, invoices, and bills. A faint smell of farm manure permeated the room. Dad, with his cigar in his mouth, didn’t seem to notice, but I sure did. I sorted the checks and put them in numerical order while Dad’s fingers moved over the adding machine with lightning speed. I often marveled at how he could manipulate that machine without even looking at the keypad. The farmer sat over in the rocking chair smoking his pipe. It was income tax time again.
     The people in Jesus’ day didn’t like taxes either. It was even worse being under the domination and thumb of Rome. The tax collectors were some of the most despised and hated people in Israel. The scribes and priests tried to trick Jesus into opposing the Roman taxes, and thus, accusing him of sedition. Jesus wasn’t so easily fooled as he was able to see through their trickery and turned the table on them. “Whose picture and title are stamped on it,” he asked? The moment they said, “Caesar’s,” he knew that he had them boxed into a corner. “Give to Caesar what belongs to him, but everything that belongs to God must be given to God.” he said. The second half of that statement is the hardest to follow. Did you notice the word that he used—everything? Wow! Are you kidding Lord? Do you really mean everything?
     Are you aware that the stuff you claim to possess isn’t really yours? It all belongs to God. Everything you have—your job, home, car, children—all came from the hand of God. Do you remember the words of ancient Job, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away, Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:23 NLG)
     Randy Alcorn in his book Treasure Principle tells us we are the managers of God’s stuff. We put this principle to the test in 2005 when the door of opportunity opened to return to Peru on a Kid-Zone children’s mission trip with Wycliffe Associates. We needed to raise the necessary funds so we took all the “stuff” that belonged to God and raised the needed funds by selling it at yard sales, and to friends and neighbors. It really wasn’t ours because we had dedicated it to the Lord.
     How are you managing the things God has loaned to you? Are you paying the God-tax?

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for showing us the Treasure Principle. We recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from above. It is on loan—help us to be good managers.

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