Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 349: Zechariah 1-2; Psalm 134; Mark 12

Further apologies: half a draft is not better than a full post...before I err again, please know that posts WILL come during Christmas week...perhaps not in the morning. But, like Emmanuel Himself, they will come!

A Half-Crown
When I was a little boy, my grandparents gave me a coin from England, the "Old Money:" a half-crown. It was an odd, large coin, and heavy. I had no idea of its worth, just that it was from England, had a picture of Queen Elizabeth on it and it was a dark bronze. It's the first coin, as I remember, that I had seen that was not of the money we used in the United States. I was fascinated by it, and it probably is still with me, at the bottom of some box on the carton of memories my wife and I each carry with us.

What matters about that coin? That is was worth two and a half shillings? 30 pennies? What could it buy, back then? No idea.

What matters about that coin? It's date...and the face on it. The sovereign of England's visage is on nearly all the coin and paper money of the Commwealth. That face means the money is from a particular country, and is under the influence and control of a particular person, or that person's government.

When Jesus asked for a coin in response to the question about whether it is right for the Jewish people to pay taxes to Caesar or not, it was more than commerce or the response to revenue demands that they were talking about....and the question persists to this day for the faithful: "Who is in charge? The sovereign or God?"

Jesus leaves it somewhat open-ended. He doesn't tell them not to pay taxes. He doesn't tell them to pay taxes. He doesn't tell them whether or not it is right or wrong to pay taxes, to Caesar or to anyone else.

We are to give to God that which is God's. So, what do you say? What, in your life, is God's?

We are to give to Caesar what is Caesar's. So, what do you say? What, in your life, can the Sovereign claim?

Haggai assures us that we are God's...and apart from God our life is, quintessentially, unsustainable.

As I ponder that half crown, with the visage of Queen Elizabeth on it, I realize...that coin is in essence worthless. It's the "old money." I couldn't spend it in a store in England or anywhere else for that matter. And yet, the gift of life I have in God is an investment I think we can all have faith in. Whether we are pearls of great price, or a widow's mite, we remain priceless and precious to a God who loves us beyond the bounds of time and space....

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