Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favourites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply amazed them, and they went away.
We’ve got a lot of things twisted, and honestly, I’m not quick to throw any blame around. There are things Jesus in all of His wisdom knew would happen, so He left us a trail of pebbles to find our way home whenever we get lost in the woods of deception, and we have found ourselves in such times.
Let’s find those pebbles.
I woke up one morning to an outcry from people who were outraged by the number of preachers using their platforms to defraud people, demanding outrageous amounts of money to be sowed as seeds to acquire breakthroughs of many kinds. I, fortunately, have never sat under any such ridiculousness, and if I had, I must have taken it with a pinch of salt. I also have become quite slow to make any comments about such occurrences, most especially because I do not have firsthand knowledge. But one morning a few days ago, I read Matthew 22 and came across the portion where the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus into saying something that might cause an offence. Unfortunately for them, it backfired like a pack of firecrackers they never saw coming to bite them. As I read the account, I began to feel a prickling in my heart about the connection between Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and the dilemma that now plagues the church.
Because of the greed of man, we have placed money at the centre of everything we do. Unfortunately, we have also tried to replace God’s grace with money. How apt was the statement of Jesus when he admonished his disciples by saying:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Jesus never referred to the devil as God’s major competitor, no. God’s greatest competition in our lives is good old money, and every day, we see the rivalry play out in our daily lives. This greed has driven many to drag the name of Jesus and His saving grace through the mud, as they have presented the gospel as something to be paid for, and grace, something to be bought. They have tried to confuse the masses into thinking that Jesus is more interested in money than what He most desires: OUR HEART.
“give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
If we are to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s, our only duty as ministers of this great Gospel would be to turn the hearts of men to God. When God has fully arrested the heart of a man, that man would, in turn, realise that all that he has belongs to God and would withhold nothing from Him and His cause. We cannot continue to deceive men into thinking that they can bribe God to make ‘things’ alright. We cannot continue to make men feel that God is a money doubler. We cannot continue to rob men in the name of God, pointing them to money as their solution and God as only a tool.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
What belongs to God? Your heart. My heart. Our hearts. God is interested in the turning over of the hearts of men to Himself. So let us who are ambassadors of our God represent Him and His cause with the utmost integrity.
Caesar is the one who wants your money and couldn’t care any less about your heart, but God is the one who doesn’t want your money if He does not have your heart.
Give to God your HEART!