Pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
Doesn’t everything belong to God? Shouldn’t everything go to the Lord? Yes. All that is good, holy, right, and sacred belongs to the Lord for he created it. And all that is bad, evil, empty, wicked and disordered belongs Caesar.
The Jews, on various occasions and for various reasons, would offer up burnt offerings, a sacrifice, to God. The best offerings were to be given – the finest fruits of man’s labor and the finest animals from God’s generosity. If not, then the offerings were worthless. Jesus is telling us to give to Him what belongs to Him, the best. Give God what he truly deserves. When we hold back, we deny the Lord what is rightfully his.
What does the Lord ask from us? Love me above all things. Love me with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, mind and will. You can take the rest. Thank you.
Yes, I know; the “rest” is worthless, maybe even useless. So we rebel and complain against God’s rights. With our heads lifted up to heaven and our voices raised, we demand better treatment, equality and insist upon our so-called rights, the rights of man. We have seen it over and over again, throughout history, on the international level, national level and even at the hometown level.
Just recently an Iowa high school wrestler cited his Christian beliefs in forfeiting a match against a girl in a state tournament. The author of one article insisted that the issue really was another skirmish between religious tradition and modernity. I would think that it was more of an issue between modesty and modernity. But let us take up his argument and dissect it for a moment. Is it really modernity? Is wresting something modern? Of course not! Is man-handling a woman, touching her (groping her) wherever and justifying it by calling it a sporting event modern? Yes, most definitely.
This young man preferred his principles over a golden prize. There were many who congratulated him, including the young girl’s parents. They said they respected his decision, putting his principles over the chance to compete for the top prize in a state famed for churning out some of the best wrestlers in the country. I’m not sure about that, but it sounds like it definitely is turning or churning out some great young men. But as many congratulated him, so too many were disappointed. After all, we are a modern society.
And even this I doubt. I’m not sure we are even a modern society. Does a modern society mean less morals, values and principles and more disorders, dysfunctions, and diseases? If we held on to more religious traditions I know we would have less modern novelties, such as eating disorders.
Yesterday, the results of a large federal government study on eating disorders among teens were published. Conclusion: half million U.S. teens have eating disorders! We all know that eating disorders have little or nothing to do with how they see food. The problem is the way these teens see themselves and their bodies. Do they not know that there body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? That their bodies are sacred? Do parents not educate their children to see that no man should ever touch them? Not even in a sporting event?
Let us lift up our hearts to the Lord and shout for joy. Let us give thanks to the Lord for his infinite love, his enduring friendship, and his everlasting forgiveness. These are the so-called rights of man: to expect a God that loves, forgives and gives and, at the same time, demands the same from us too.
Maybe this is the way we will become modern: when we begin to respect God and neighbor.