We turn to Matthew 28:16-20 to assess the church’s mission and what God has next for LakeView.
“Forgive and forget.” Or so we’re told. So often we believe that forgiving means forgetting. And, since forgetting about the sin and hurt someone has caused us is darn near impossible, we give up and assume we just can’t forgive. But biblical forgiveness is not forgetting!
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21, NIV).
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. If Jesus had said, “Yes,” then many of the Jews would likely reject him as a Roman sympathizer. But if Jesus had said, “No,” then he would be in violation of the Roman law and could be arrested as a rebel instigator. Jesus’s answer not only evades their trap but stumps them in the process (sometimes I wish I could think on my feet as fast as Jesus with a quick and clever reply)!
Jesus asks them to show him a coin and asks whose image is stamped on the coin. “Caesar’s,” they replied. So Jesus tells them to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God. Caesar has his little kingdom, his domain that is marked by his image; and God has his Kingdom, his Domain that is marked by his Image. Coins bearing the image of Caesar might belong to Caesar, but human beings bearing the image of God belong to God.
As I read this, I was reminded whose I am. Yes, I’m a citizen of the US. Yes, I’m a pastor of LakeView Church. Yes, I’m a husband and a dad. But I belong to God; his image is stamped on my soul. I should give time, money, thought, energy, and effort as is appropriate in each domain–work, home, country, etc. But my heart and soul belong to God, and it is to God that I give my very self.
My prayer for you this week is that you would remember one very important reality: You belong to God. This week, give to God what belongs to God.