‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’, said Jesus in Matthew 22:21. But what does it mean to give to God what is God’s?
Well, what is God’s? Of course, everything is God’s. He made everything, and so it is all his.
And what do you have that is not God’s? Nothing. Everything you are and everything you have is his gift to you.
So first we need to recognize God as the giver of all things. From the simplest pleasure of a snowdrop to the deep spiritual blessings of eternal life, God is the giver of it all. And so the first thing we should give is gratitude. Cultivate a grateful heart, by counting your blessings, taking nothing for granted, and deliberately saying thank you to the Great Giver. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son …
But we ourselves are God’s too. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture. So we are to give to him also our very selves, mind, body, soul, as a gift of love, giving ourselves to his service in worship, love and evangelism. You are not your own but his, so live in the freedom that comes from being a slave to God. Utterly his, devoted to him, caring less about yourself and more about him and his kingdom with each day that passes.
And, in the context of Matthew 21, this saying is also about how we use our money. For that too is not ours but God’s. He has entrusted it to us for good purposes, not so that we should idolize it, or assess our ‘worth’ by it, or be selfish with it, but so that we might enjoy sharing it, using it, and giving it, for his glory. Give to God what is God’s.
We have been looking at our church finances and again we testify to God’s amazing faithfulness last year in providing for us in difficult times. This year, 2017, looks in prospect quite a lot tougher. Please give generously to God’s work through St. John’s / St. Andrew’s, and I can promise that the Church Councils wrestle and pray about how to apportion rightly the money you give. Please give regularly not haphazardly. Please give generously not selfishly. Please give cheerfully not grudgingly. Please give by standing order if possible, and please sign a Gift Aid form, which enables us to claim back the tax you’ve already paid.
But don’t just give money. Give to God everything that is God’s. And that means first of all, give him the absolute allegiance of your heart in every aspect of your life.
With my best wishes – James