Summary: The first step to visionary stewardship is giving our whole hearts unto God
Render Unto God . . .
Text:: Matt. 22:15-22
Series: Claim the Vision - Sermon 1
15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
15Then the Pharisees met together to think of a way to trap Jesus into saying something for which they could accuse him. 16They decided to send some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to ask him this question: "Teacher, we know how honest you are. You teach about the way of God regardless of the consequences. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. 17Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to the Roman government or not?"
18But Jesus knew their evil motives. "You hypocrites!" he said. "Whom are you trying to fool with your trick questions? 19Here, show me the Roman coin used for the tax." When they handed him the coin, 20he asked, "Whose picture and title are stamped on it?"
21"Caesar’s," they replied.
"Well, then," he said, "give to Caesar what belongs to him. But everything that belongs to God must be given to God." 22His reply amazed them, and they went away.
Today, we kick off our stewardship campaign. For many of us the next month will be like a trio to the doctor’s office for an annual check-up. The Doc sits you on a table and proceeds to poke prod and stick you while asking, “Does that hurt? How about this?”
If you cry out in pain, one of two things has happened. The doctor has pushed too hard (but will never admit it!) or there’s something wrong and the doctor will say, “We’d better do some tests. It’s not supposed to hurt there.”
So it is when pastors preach on financial responsibility, and some members cry out in discomfort, criticizing both the message and the messenger. Either the preacher has pushed to hard (and we will never admit it either) or, more likely, something is wrong. (From Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching by Brian Larson)
I hope you will go into this campaign with an open mind and soft heart. When the Scripture prod and poke and cause you pain, ask first, what might be wrong.
This morning we are going to take a brief look at the famous gospel account of Jesus saying, “ Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
This may be an especially painful passage, because it not only talks about giving to God, but giving to then government!!!
A Little Boy wanted $100.00 badly and prayed to God for a whole week, but nothing happened. So, he decided to write God a letter requesting the $100.00. When the Post Office got the letter addressed to God they forwarded it on to the Whitehouse. The President was very impressed, touched and amused so he instructed his aid to send the boy $5.00. He thought $5.00 would be a lot to the little boy. The boy was, indeed, delighted by the money. He sat down and wrote a thank you note immediately, which read:
Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington and, as usual, they kept most of it.
(From bucket of Surprises by John and Mark Stibbe)
Well, the people living 2000 years ago didn’t like to pay taxes anymore than we do today. In fact, there was a raging debate about the morality of paying tribute to Rome.
The Pharisees teamed up the Herodians in order to impale Jesus on this hot button issue. They knew that to get to Jesus they needed to turn the people against Him and then, as now, most of the common folk loved him! The Herodians were a political party which supported the rule of Herod. They were in favor of paying the tribute to Rome and the Pharisees took the opposite position saying it was immoral to pay money to a pagan empire.