Date: Thursday, September 5
Scripture: Matthew 22:15-22
Verse: Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21b)
Due to the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires many in our congregation were forced to evacuate their homes or confront the possibility of evacuation within the past 14 months. It is an odd feeling when you begin to think about what you will take with you, and what you are willing to risk losing to the flames. Some, unfortunately, did not have time to make those decisions, and lost it all. For many, preparing to evacuate and hearing the stories of those who lost so much, has provided an opportunity to reevaluate what matters to us.
In today’s reading, Jesus is confronted with a question meant to get him into trouble, “Should we pay taxes or not?” Answer one way and the oppressed people will be angry with him. Answer the other and he is opening himself up to legal action. Those presenting this question must have thought themselves very clever. Jesus does not take the bait.
Instead Jesus uses the opportunity to remind the people they are more than citizens of a nation occupied by Rome. They are also members of the KIngdom of God, and what matters in God’s KIngdom is far different from what matters to Rome. As the emperor has placed his likeness on his currency (the coin), God has placed his likeness upon what matters most to him, us. Genesis 1:27 reads, “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” We, like the coin, bear the image of our King. Jesus urges the people of God to give our whole selves to him.
It is easy to get our priorities out of whack, to give greater weight to things which have little real value. Packing up to evacuate was a good reminder for many of us. Recognizing our true citizenship in the Kingdom of God can help us get our eyes again upon the things that truly mater.
Prayer: Remind me again, Lord Jesus, of how much I matter to God. Amen.
Action: Make or review your evacuation list. Don’t know what to bring? Here is a good place to start: http://blog.wrfr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/WildfireEmergencyEvacuationChecklist.pdf
Respond: What have you learned from evacuation? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.