And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him. (Mark 12:17)
We know exactly what Jesus is talking about in this verse whether we are new to the Bible or an avid reader. He's talking about responsibility. Each of us has a responsibility to pay our debts, to respect the laws and to defend our freedom. There's a saying: "If you aren't willing to stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them". There was a bumper sticker during the Vietnam war which contained a phase along with a picture of a heart and a picture of a donkey - the phrase was similar to the former insomuch as it said that if your heart wasn't in America you could leave. We fly an American flag on holidays and we pay all kinds of taxes - I'd venture a guess that we do the latter with a magnitude of complaining (especially on April 15th of each year). We pay income tax, sales tax, inheritance tax, tax on our interest earned, and property tax (I'm sure I've left a few out - but you get the idea). We do it because we don't want to spend a lengthy vacation at Club Fed and we happen to like the material things we have, so we are willing to pay tax on them.
But what about that which is God's? Do we complain about having to follow his rules? Do we get up each morning and thank him for everything we have? Do we get dressed and go to worship him with excitement or do we mumble the words "I have to go to church"? Do we sit curled up in the corner of our couch with a cup of coffee and grab HIS book off the coffee table and read it and marvel at the biographies written in it? Do we praise him when he answers a prayer?
I hated going to church as a child and teenager. I could think of a hundred places I'd rather have been for that hour. I didn't own a bible until I was in high school. The only time I'd hit my knees was in church. The only time I'd pray was when I wanted something. I'm glad we serve a forgiving God!
Today, the first thing I do is thank God - before my feet hit the floor. I look forward to going to church and I sit and I read his book every day. Everything I have is because God loves me and cares for me. I praise him when he answers a prayer, I pray and leave my requests at his feet. I give to God what it is his and he blesses me. I don't give to him out of fear (although I do fear him - which is another note) - I give to him out of love for him - for what he's given me is something I'll never be able to match. His son paid a debt that I was not worthy of having paid for me and could never have paid myself. I love God with all my heart. I praise and worship him because I want to, not because I have to!
We all have our own agendas and we interpret certain verses of the Bible differently. People will ask me "why do you do that" (referring to my attitudes, behavior, dress, etc) and my answer to them all is quite simple...because it pleases God.
Do something today that pleases God. If you have had something tugging at your heart, something you do, or say, or wear - change it - make it pleasing to God and he'll stop tugging. But don't be surprised if he finds something else to tug at - it's just the way he is!