May 13, 2024

Paulina De La Fuente
Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.
Matthew 22:15-22

Not only did I walk away from church on Sunday having learned a new expression for a difficult circumstance (“a sticky wicket”), but I also kept thinking about Jesus’ choice to use the word “render” in verse 21. It amazes me how God instills His order and design, even among such brokenness in our world. Though no earthly kingdom has ever been perfect, God gets to the heart of so many of our human struggles by teaching us about submission, honor, humility, and deference — to both imperfect kings and the only Perfect One.

When I looked up other biblical usages of the word “render” or “give up/back,” so many different examples came up — humans rendering something to each other, rendering something to God, or God rendering something to humans, positive and negative alike. As we look deeper at God’s “Kingdom Policy Priorities,” I wonder what God would have us render to Him first in order to honor those priorities well. Is there anything God wants us to give up or give back to Him today?

Lord, teach our hearts to submit to You first, trust You, and re-order our priorities based on Your priorities. We look to You as the light and hope of our world.