Smiling Dan will relate well to this post!
A few weeks ago I was reading something written by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. He was speaking on the issue of “giving to Caesar what is Caesar” (Mk 12:17, Mt 22:15-22). The attempt by the Pharisees to trip Jesus up over his loyalty to God or Rome using taxes as the snare. As always, Jesus trips them up with their own rope.
I’m not worried about breaking down the event captured in the Gospels. Instead I want to talk about Ravi’s extension and use of this lesson in our lives today. Ravi points out that indeed, taxes were expected to be paid to Caesar – it was his rule. So Jesus says “Whose image is on the coin?” “Caesar’s!” they replied. “Correct, so give to him what is his.” The point being give to him what is his, after all his image is on the currency itself.
Ravi then says “whose image is on the one dollar bill? Washington. Whose image is on the five dollar bill? Lincoln.”
In America we are especially possessive of time and money. Beyond addiction! It is “our money” or “my money” we proudly proclaim as we balance the checkbook. In a sense it is. We have gone out and earned it. In that sense it is ours. But we are often controlled by it. The money owns us, instead of us owning the money. It is more important to us than people because of the image on it (Lincoln, Benjamin, Jackson…). Image – whose image is the currency made of?
Now the killer question. “Whose image is on you?” God’s
Ravi continues to explain that the image imposed on anything is important. But given that truth, then that means nothing, literally nothing, is more important than humans because of the image engraved on us. We are made in the image of God. Sorry, folks, but humans are more important than pets, trees, oceans and yes, money.
People, other people are more important than material possessions. It has to be wonderful to not only accept this truth, but live it out. Not because of race, wealth, last name – but simply because people are made in the image of God gives them immense value. Human lives and well-being are important – absolutely important.
This gives me a new perspective on money in my wallet. I now carry a few dollars lose in one pocket to giveaway when approached by homeless people on my way to work. Yes, I can easily stand in judgment of them (that makes keeping my $3 so much easier). But if I understand the biblical landscape correctly, because that person is a human, if I were to shun them in order to keep my few bucks, then what I am saying is my money is more important than them.
God gave his Son because I was so important. I wonder just what I am willing to depart with for the sake of another person?