d. No dues to God:
A prosperous farmer was miserly in what he gave to his Church. So, his pastor went to visit him with the hope of getting him to increase his donation. The pastor pointed out to him that the Lord had given him a fertile piece of land and had blessed him with sunshine and rain so that his crops would grow. The priest added, “You know, this farm and everything you have is really on loan to you from God. You should be more grateful.” The farmer replied, “I don’t mean to complain, Father, but you should have seen what a mess this place was when God was running it by Himself!”
e. Journey to God with a parcel of Caesar:
There once was a wealthy man who was determined to take his wealth with him when he died. He prayed and prayed until he convinced the Lord to let him bring his wealth inside the Pearly Gates. There was one condition: He could only bring one suitcase of his wealth with him. Therefore, the rich man filled his suitcase with gold bullion. Then one day, he died. St. Peter greeted him at the gate and told him he could come in, but his suitcase would have to be left behind. “But I have an agreement with God," said the man, "to bring one suitcase into heaven." "That's very unusual," replied St. Peter. "Let me look inside that suitcase." The man opened the suitcase to reveal the shining gold bullion. St. Peter was amazed. He asked, "Why in the world did you bring more paving stones to heaven when we have already finished Heaven’s flooring with pure gold and beautiful diamonds?”
f. Remember the movie, “Oh, God!” with George Burns?
In that movie, the idea was mentioned that the reason God gave Adam and Eve no clothes to wear was because God knew that once they had clothes, they would want pockets. Once they had pockets, they would want money.
g. "Will the Reverend also have a martini?"
A pious pastor who had been a teetotaler all his life, was invited to dinner by a new parishioner. "Would you gentlemen care for a drink?" the waiter asked. "I'll have a Martini," said the parishioner. "Will the Reverend also have a martini?" the waiter asked. "I'd sooner break all Ten Commandments," said the pastor. "I didn't know we had a choice," said the parishioner. In today's Gospel Lesson, the Pharisees ask Jesus a question involving choice.
Finally, the new citizens stood to take their vows. But before they could do so, they first had to renounce their previous citizenship, whatever it was. Then all together, with tears flowing down their cheeks, they declared, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America..." I want to declare to you today that we Christians hold dual citizenship. Simultaneously, we are citizens of America and also citizens of the Kingdom of God.
11) The Christian and Politics:
12) Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s:
13) “I love my country but there is a higher authority, God!”
14) Is Pat Murray on board?’
The little boy was straightforward and honest in his questions because he wanted to entrust to the lady something valuable. The Pharisees are not being honest. They have no intent in entrusting Jesus with anything. They are not looking for the answer to a question. They don't want someone to hold their quarter. They are looking for a way to get rid of this trouble making Nazarene named Jesus.
The Pharisees were so angry it blinded them. Think for a moment about the ironies here: We know, because we live on this side of the resurrection, that Jesus was God. They thought he was demonic, an agent of Satan. We know that Jesus is the King of kings. They thought he wanted to be the King of Israel. We know that he was the Son of God. They thought he was simply Joseph and Mary's son. We know that Jesus has influenced the world for 2000 years. They thought his influence would end at the cross.
It's a fascinating story. We look at the Pharisees and we shake our heads...
It is unthinkable that a Christian would not vote! It is unthinkable that Christians would not run for public office! It is unthinkable that Christians would withdraw from the responsibility of taking part in public life. The Christian has a responsibility to Caesar for all the privileges which the rule of Caesar brings. We are citizens of this world and must be good ones, if we are Christ's disciples.
I have also heard it argued that "Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's" implies a strict separation of church and state, that Jesus is dividing life into two separate and distinct parts - a spiritual part and a secular, or worldly, part. Dedicated and committed Christians have been arguing for this separation for centuries, and we probably won't settle the issue once and for all today. Their argument has been that with these words Jesus is telling us to obey God in the spiritual realm and to obey the government in everything else. Now, that's a nice, neat little division, and it solves many difficult problems. Politics is politics and religion is religion and never the twain shall meet. Let the church take care of its own business and keep their noses out of social and political issues. That would be fine if it worked. You and I both know that it doesn't. Yes, there are obligations we have to the governing authorities, such as paying taxes, exercising our right to vote, and obeying civil laws. But as followers of Jesus Christ, our ultimate obligation is to "seek first the kingdom of God," and all other obligations have to have a lower priority. There can only be one top priority.
Our many loyalties and commitments can do the same to us. We may feel that the strings of power and persuasion tied to us need only be tugged a bit, and then we have to move as they direct. The company we work for, the government we live under, the family we belong to, the possessions we own (more so, the one's we're still paying for) - all these things exercise varying degrees of control over our lives. To a large extent they determine how we spend our time, our money, our energy, our being. It isn't rare at all these days for people to be pulled in so many different directions that they jump and jerk across the stage of life, often feeling helplessly out of control.
Our problem is that there are too many Caesars before which we stand accountable. It's impossible to please them all. Rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's is more than some folk feel they can handle.
D. Wayne Burkette, Life in Heaven's Kingdom, CSS Publishing Company
We have good news that is essential to every human being; it's a matter of their eternal life or death. We may be the only conduits God has to certain persons. We must help him reach them.
"That's crazy," said his friend.
"Yes, it's true," came the reply. "It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you."
He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.
Do you eat cereal for breakfast, or don't you like football?
Are you Lutheran, or do you live in America?
Will you obey God, or will you pay taxes to Caesar?
Welcome to the world of false dichotomies-thing that are wrongly set against each other, "either/or"s that really aren't. Can you wear shoes and come to church in a car? Can you eat cereal and enjoy football? Can you be Lutheran and live in America?...