What can I give to God?

4m | Mar 31, 2024

“Keeping a close watch on (Jesus), they (the teachers of the law and the chief priests) sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So, the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent” (Luke 20: 20 – 26).

In today’s story, those trying to trap Jesus into saying something that might harm His ministry heard him say, “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Jesus used the opportunity to remind the “spies” that everything belongs to God. Lifting the story into our day, when we give something to Him, like our time, our love, or our money, we are simply returning to Him what He already owns. What He has already shared with us.

We give Him our time because he has given us a lifetime. We love Him because He first loved us. And we give him portions of our possessions and wealth because he gave us the ability to earn them.

Is there anything we can give to God that He didn’t already give to us? Let me suggest two things. First, our thanks. God has no reason to say, “thank you” to us, but 1 Thess 5: 18 reminds us to give to him “thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God doesn’t force us to express gratitude, but it is certainly His will. What parent wouldn’t find joy seeing appreciation in the excited heart of her child? In comparison, there is so much that we can thank the Lord for. Perhaps our excited and grateful hearts bring joy to our Father in Heaven in a similar way.

Second, thanks must surely lead to worship. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness” (Ps 29: 2). Again, God doesn’t give us worship, but we can certainly pour ours out to Him.

“…give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Caesar may have given the Israelites in Jesus’ day some level of peace, a road system and trade networks but God gave them life, His Word and His Son. Oh, and He created Caesar.

Everything comes back to a generous and loving God. How can we ever live a day without a “thank you” on our lips and love in our hearts? 

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4-minute Devotions - the Podcast