Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 8: Year 2
Psalm 140, 142; Psalm 141, 143:1-11(12); Num. 24:1-13; Rom. 8:12-17; Matt. 22:15-22
“Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’” (Matthew 22:21)
In trying to trick our Lord Jesus, the disciples of the Pharisees, along with the Herodians actually learn something about the real use of money and the reality of what belongs to God.
The real use of money is to purchase the necessities we need for living healthy lives. Also money can be used for fun and comfort. However, as money is a nonperishable trade commodity that the whole community needs to make use of, it should never be hoarded to the deprivation of others.
The emperor can be seen as the government and money back to the emperor is the same as paying taxes. The government, or the emperor, are the printers of the money (hopefully) as a means of enabling citizens the ability to get their needs and maintain their common good which includes paying wages for those who work for the government or the emperor. Money is too often misused.
Our souls and hearts on the other hand, belong to the One who gave it to us, Almighty God. While money is a human construct, our being is the design and creation of God. Loans of money can, and should, be paid in full. What we owe God can never be paid. But then, who we are, and how we are made, never really stops being the property of God. And given the fact that we cannot pay God back for our being, we must inevitably return “to God the things that are God’s.”
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John