Living with in the world with a heavenly mindset.

Although the question posed to Jesus about paying taxes was designed to find fault with him, in one sentence Jesus shed light on how his followers are to live in the world. Jesus’ contemporaries chaffed at being ruled by the Romans; paying taxes to Caesar was particularly aggravating to them. However, it was necessary for them to do so without incurring retribution from the Roman government. The question was designed to discredit Jesus. If he said “Yes, pay taxes”, Jesus would be discredited in the eyes of the people, but if he responded “No, you don’t have to pay taxes”, they could accuse him before the Roman governor. Jesus’ response was wise. He requested a coin and asked whose image and inscription were on it. Of course it had Caesar’s image and inscription. Since it was Caesar’s coin, give him what he asks, but at the same time give to God what belongs to God. Implied in Jesus’ response is that we are to give Caesar the money he asks for, but to give to God our heart, our very being. As followers of Jesus, we are called to live in the world, do business in the world, work, pay taxes etc. We are not to live some detached life from the world, but to live in it, but not be of it. We do this by remembering and cultivating a heart that is inclined toward God and his heavenly kingdom being manifested on earth. This was what Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer; “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Our purpose in living on earth is not to gain success as the world defines success by acquiring wealth, possessions and fame, but by influencing people to transform the way they live from an earthly perspective to a heavenly one through following Jesus. This was how Jesus lived when he was on earth. His example reveals to us a model for how we our to live during our years on earth.

2 thoughts on “Living with in the world with a heavenly mindset.

  1. Excellent post, Dave. The great Princeton historian, Bernard Lewis, said Jesus’ “Render unto Caesar…” statement is one of the most important of all time. (And he was a secular Jew.) He said that it made Christianity different from all other religions. He said this verse began the Christian practice of separating church and state. Christians have always separated church and state and Lewis said we are the only faith that does! Every word of Jesus has so much power and importance. Thanks again for reminding us of that.


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