“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.”
Jesus makes it clear that we should pay our taxes.
But what if I don’t want to? What if I don’t like how the government is being led, or spending money, or wasting money? What if I don’t have enough money or would rather spend it on myself?
Of course, the government has ways of making people pay their taxes, but that is not my point here. Why did Jesus, who is God, tell us to pay our taxes? There is something more going on here than just the need to fund our public servants and works; there is a heart issue. God doesn’t ask what we want but commands us to do what is right. Could you imagine a good parent who only did what their stubborn child wanted? We wouldn’t call them a good parent. Doing what is right is the first step, then over time our feelings are changed so that we want what is good. But we don’t start always wanting what is good anymore than a person automatically knows how to do algebra – goodness (and algebra) has to be taught and reinforced by good people. So there is no point in using “what I want” as a metric for what is right.
We may not like how the government is being led or managing money – this is why we can vote. But again there is a deeper issue here. How are WE spending the money that God has given us? It is so easy to complain about the government and not see the shortfalls in our own lives – yet God continues to provide for us. God gives us money so that we can do what is right – including paying our taxes, supporting our churches, providing for our families, helping others, and enjoying life. Like a parent giving allowance, He gives us money to teach us how to do what is right (see Matthew 5:21).
We are supposed to pay our taxes and be law abiding citizens (unless the laws of our country violates God’s commands; Romans 13:1-8). We are to live such good lives that even unbelievers will see God’s goodness and praise Him (1 Peter 2:12). But in His “render” statements Jesus doesn’t just say we should render unto Caesar; we are also supposed to render to God what belongs to God.
The coin has the image of Caesar on it – give it back to Caesar. What has the image of God? You and I. Give the whole coin to Caesar; give all you are to the Lord Jesus – the true King of the world. Your life is worth more than money, and when our lives are in His hands He can do so much more than any silver or gold could ever buy.