The Beautiful and The Brutal
“. . . the things that belong to Caesar give to Caesar and the things that belong to God give to God.” Mark 12:17
Money is neutral. It has no power. With money, one can do great things or horrible things. Jesus stresses the priority of God’s rule, while at the same time, He recognizes earthly responsibility. Both the beauty and brutal sides of money are held together by God’s power. With a proper perspective, all things can be received with thanksgiving and used with the blessing of God.
Created things are neutral. Riches can be both a blessing and a curse – its effect on a disciple’s relationship to God is the criteria. The beautiful and brutal must be kept in balance.
On one side, Jesus sees God the Father as the source of life and only in relation to Him can one know the purpose of life and things. Nothing should cloud the relationship to God. The heart will be wherever the treasure is. The disciple is not to be anxious about material things, but to seek first God’s kingly rule.
On the other side, Jesus refuses to stand with the religious zealots who oppose cooperation with authorities. Jesus acknowledges Caesar’s right to levy taxes, He does so in a way that God comes first. Caesar mints money in his own image, but God has created man in His own image and this is His claim on the entire person.
Giving to God what belongs to God is the real struggle. We look at the blessings God has given us and say “that’s mine.” The cares of this world, money, or the lack of money, choke out the life of God in us. God wrestles our love and lust for things away from us until all that remains in us is all that He is.
Yield your desire to gain, keep, and control what you’ve been given. When you realize the tremendous influence it had on you, seek absolute loyalty to Jesus alone. By yielding to Jesus, it will break open in you a heart of generosity.
Are you His or not?