The Other Side of the Coin

I like to think I’m in good spirits most of the year. But when tax season rolls around, I always have to perform a heart-check.

I fill out those wretched forms and give the government my hard-earned money with two thoughts in mind:
1} Why on earth am I self-employed? 2} Good thing the Bible is clear about taxes, because I really would rather break the law.

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. Mark 12:17

That familiar, unfriendly passage rambled through my mind several times over the past few weeks as I sorted through the mounds of paperwork.

Then one time, it stopped me.

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s . . .

Whether or not I like “Caesar” or agree with him, I’m supposed to pay what is expected of me. I get it. Might need to find a happy heart somewhere, but I get it.

. . . and to God the things that are God’s.

Wait. Where did that come from? And what does that look like?

True, we are instructed to give generously to care for the needs of the saints.  But giving to God must not be equated with giving to the church. God owns far more than that.

Then what are “the things that are God’s”?

Not just the church. Not just the stuff we own. Not just our money. Not just our time. Not just our family or friends. Not our thoughts, our plans, or our energies alone.

God owns it all.

For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Tim 6:7

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. Ps 24:1

Render to God the things that are God’s? But that’s everything.

Never mind the “Caesar” part. Take a look at the other side of the coin, and my heart is as black as can be.

I may give to the church, give to others, and give to the government, but I’m miles away from obedience and gratefulness if I think the rest of it is mine.

I may spend myself for the sake of the gospel, work hard, act responsibly, and serve faithfully, but if I calculate what’s left over for my own enjoyment, I’ve missed the point entirely.

I may prioritize the Word, but who am I to think that when the Bible studies are over and the spiritual stuff is done, I can use the remainder of my time and energies for myself?

Where did I get the idea that God gets part of my day? Part of my thoughts? Part of me?

The nerve I have to pretend I own anything at all!

And so on April 15, a withdrawal is made, and by God’s grace, I choose joy.

Meanwhile, in every moment of every day, you’ll find me asking for the strength to surrender everything, every ounce of my life, to God.

Whether I surrender or not, it’s all his.

 [image credit: flickr.com]


18 thoughts on “The Other Side of the Coin

  1. OUCH! This hit me right in my face and heart! I, too, have not thought much about that although I did just read Psalm 50 where God says that the cattle on a thousand hills are His, that the birds are His…I should have tied that into this verse too! Thanks for this most excellent post! Glad we are near neighbors at Unite today.

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  2. You bet. A prof once told me: spirituality isn’t a slice of the pie, it’s the whole pie. A great post – all of me for all of Him – but as Oswald chambers said, I give myself to God but then I keep crawling off of the altar!
    Yep! Blessings – near you on tuesday link up this afternoon in CA.

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  3. Yes, we are thankful for what God has given us (earned usually by work he provides.) As you remind us that it all belongs to Him and he only asks for a portion to be returned and that with JOY. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  4. So true…whether we surrender or not, it’s still His. When life gets busy it can be easy to forget that. Thankfully, He’s a patient God, and He takes pleasure in giving good gifts. We’ve dabbled in self-employment over the years (with a regular job on the side), but we’ve just started being completely self-employed. Definitely will be different come tax time! We’re used to getting a big refund, not having to pay. 🙂 Good words of encouragement, Lydia, thanks for sharing. Blessed to be your neighbor at the sitting among friends linkup this morning. ((blessings))

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  5. This point in your post struck me, even though I know God owns everything … I don’t think it’s fully in me:

    “I may prioritize the Word, but who am I to think that when the Bible studies are over and the spiritual stuff is done, I can use the remainder of my time and energies for myself?”

    This is something I need to search out in myself. I admit I am selfish with my time … something needs to change.

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  6. Amen! When we surrender that it is all His, we are being obedient to Him. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂

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  7. This is another great article, so true. Im loving your blog. I recently heard a teaching that said that the looking at the coin to see who’s face was on it should also make us remember we are image bearers of Christ, we are God’s, belonging to Him. I think there’s a hidden selfishness in the “we get to keep 90%” message preached at large, though I no longer believe tithing is scriptural, I was a huge proponent for some time and admit my 10% was given so I could know my 90% would go futher for me as taught and I believed that I could pay a small fee to assure my money did all that I needed. This was utterly selfish and wicked of me! God owns me, my LIFE is His, my DAY is His, my body is His, my children and family are His, and I need to daily be giving it ALL to Him to do His will. If I do this correctly, I walk away with a life reflecting 100% God owned in EVERYTHING, this admittedly doesn’t always look that way due to my imperfections, failures and sins but it doesn’t dismiss the TRUTH that God STILL does own it all and deserves my all in everything, He gets 100 of me, I keep none for myself or at least that’s the goal!

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