Are you excited for election time? Has an election stump speech thrilled you? I admit I am yet to be excited or thrilled, at any government election. The flurry of promises, attacks, criticisms, claims, raise more questions than enthusiasm. This is disappointing, as so much of our lives are shaped by our government. I hope for something far better.
Nearly every element of our lives has some policy, regulatory, lawful, hand on it. The value of our money, who can marry, the fuel in vehicles, employment & wage conditions, the pricing of electricity, the funding of health, education, my retirement, the environment, and more. Sure, we have freedom, but this freedom is under the oversight of the government. On many matters Aussies complain, yet overall, we are glad for it. Our generally fair, generally good enough government is better than many alternatives.
In Matt 22 Jesus is tested by religious and political enemies regarding paying imperial tax to Caesar. The tax was not significant, but as a symbol reminded Israel they were under Caesar’s rule. The religious rulers collected the tribute and had sacred issues with the image of Caesar on the coin. Yet the compromise of collecting tax, sustained the temple worship and functioning of Israel. What was Jesus’ opinion? “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” (Matt 22:17). Jesus responded,
“Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
These leaders were prepared to hold Caesar’s coin, sustain Caesar’s system, come under Caesar’s rule. They gave to Caesar all that Caesar asked. Even if it involved compromise. Why then will they not give to God what is God’s?
We live under frail systems of government. I do think we should hope and expect the best from our leaders. Yet if we are disappointed, are we surprised? We give to these fragile government so much. Why then do we struggle to give God what is God’s? When, unlike our governments, God is great, good, and gracious?