Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Exodus 31-33; Matthew 22: 1-22
15 Then the Pharisees met together to find a way to trap Jesus in his words. 16 They sent their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are genuine and that you teach God’s way as it really is. We know that you are not swayed by people’s opinions, because you don’t show favoritism. 17 So tell us what you think: Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
18 Knowing their evil motives, Jesus replied, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used to pay the tax.” And they brought him a denarion. 20 “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked.
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” 22 When they heard this they were astonished, and they departed (Matthew 22:15-22, Common English Bible).
I love this passage. I know some might think that strange, but I do. I also happen to be preaching on this passage tomorrow. No, it wasn’t planned where on Saturday before I preached this passage on Sunday I would blog about it. It just worked out that way. Funny how God does some of that sometime. It just happens to be the Sunday we are going to talk about stewardship.
I thought that instead of chasing after something else, either a different text or a different explanation of this text, I would kind of preview my sermon for Sunday.
A lot of us look at paying our taxes to the government and our tithes to the church as a lot like paying our dues to be part of a club. Taxes are the things we pay for the privilege of living in this country. They help with building roads (because Cindy works for TxDOT, the Texas building roads people and my Dad was retired from TxDOT and I got to eat as a kid, and well I guess today too because of TxDOT) and having a military. I guess taxes are kind of like paying dues. You pay your dues for the work the organization does either internally or externally.
Tithes are different. Yes, in a sense it is the same. We give to help the church carry out its ministries. But, here is how it is different. We don’t give to be part of the club. If you want to be part of say, the Lion’s Club, Rotary or the Masons, you pay your dues or you don’t stay in the club. The church is different than that. We have lots of members who never contribute at all. We don’t say you are no longer a member because you didn’t “pay your dues.” The church is different.
In this lesson, Jesus isn’t talking about giving to God the things that are God’s and talking about money. In fact, Jesus says to give the money to Caesar. There is something else we are to give to God. If you want to know what that is there are a few things you do. You can come to worship at First United Methodist Church in Sweeny TX tomorrow. Worship begins at 10:00 A.M. 207 E. First Street, Sweeny.
Your second choice, you can watch our live feed on my Facebook profile or you can see the video later, on either my profile of the churches. Third, you can look back here Sunday afternoon or evening and I will post the sermon manuscript.
What we place in the offering plate isn’t paying our dues. It is an offering of thanksgiving, not out of obligation but as our way of showing a thankful heart not only for what God has already done for us, but also for the ways we know God will bless us in the future.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved