27 June – David Muskett, Petersfield Methodist Church

Give to Caesar?

As we approach a General Election we hear in many places that religion and politics should be kept separate. Jesus is quoted in support of the view: ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’

Jesus was not commenting on whether or not the minister should be supporting a political party from the pulpit. He was reacting to a question about paying taxes which was designed to trap him.

In modern terms, giving to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s is simply about working within the law; paying taxes that are legally due; taking part in the organisation of the people in whatever way is required or allowed.

So, what about ‘give to God the things that are God’s?’ What are the things that are God’s?
What is to be given to God – and only to God – is worship.

But that’s not just an hour on a Sunday. Worship is about the offering of ourselves: all that we are and all that we’re involved in.

Jesus’ favourite subject was the Kingdom of God. It’s a political phrase which puts God in the position of the rulers. Giving ourselves to God is about being part of God’s Kingdom so that the ways of this world are more like the ways of God.

Two quotations from the Book of the Prophet Micah come to mind:
Everyone will sit under their own vine and their own fig tree and no one will make them afraid. (Micha 4:4)

He has told you what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micha 6:8)