This week, I read the account of the Jewish leaders trying to entrap Jesus with their questions. One question has to do with paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus responds by asking for a coin. He than asks whose inscription is on the coin. His questioners answer Caesar’s. Jesus than surprises them all with His answer: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)
When I read this account, God convicted me about my life. I had always read these words with the understanding that we are to pay our taxes, but I never paid much attention to the second part of Jesus’ statement. God wants me to give all things unto Him because I belong to Him.
One question that comes to my mind: “Have I rendered unto God the things that belong to Him?” I realize that my answer is “no”. I still am dealing with selfishness in several areas of my life. I often don’t recognize in my heart that belonging to God means I surrender every area of my life to Him. Surrender is the true essence of defining what it means to be a servant (bond-slave) of Jesus Christ.
“What are the things that I need to render unto God?” First of all, I need to render my life unto God. I often grab hold of my life and try to take it back from God. I can do this as I make decisions concerning my future, or the use of my time. I also have the tendency to allow my worries and anxieties to remain in my heart instead of giving them over to the Lord as He desires: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
My reputation is an area in my life that I need to give unto God. It is difficult not to defend oneself when others may not agree with you or even worse when they oppose you or try to tear you down. Jesus Christ is the great example of one who surrendered His reputation to His Heavenly Father. God’s reputation is more important than my reputation.
A second area of my life that I need to render to God is my family. Marriage can easily bring out my selfish bent. Instead of looking at my wife in the same way as Christ loved the church. I seek to please myself. A marriage surrendered to God demonstrates a selfless love that seeks the best for one’s spouse.
Also, I am grateful for the three children that God has given to us. Our two sons are serving the Lord in Portugal and our daughter and her husband are making plans to minister in England. When we give our children unto God, it is difficult when the Lord takes them to distant place to live. This is a great reminder that our children ultimately belong to God. They are his gift to us to raise them to honor and glorify Him.
A third area of my life that I need to render to God is the church. As a pastor of a church, I need to remind myself that Christ is the Head of the church. I am His servant, who needs to minister to those that God brings into our local church. Patience is a necessity in dealing with people. The Bible reminds me: “that it is God who worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.” In myself I can’t make anyone grow spiritually. I can’t make anyone confess and forsake their sin. I need to constantly “turn my eyes upon Jesus.”
Almost every day, the Lord reminds me of some area of my life that I need to surrender to Him. He is my Lord and Master. He knows what is best for me. What keeps me from surrendering every area to my Loving Lord?
“Dear Lord, thank you for using your Word to show me my need to give every area of my life to you. I know that I attempt to grab from you some part of my life that belongs to you. Help me to see those areas of my life, my family and the church that I have yet delivered unto you. Sometimes transferring the ownership of some area of my life is difficult, but I know that your peace, guidance and wisdom come when I render everything to you. Thank you that I belong to you because your Son took my place on the cross, Amen.”