I can’t TELL you the number of times I’ve heard the complaint over the years: “the church is always asking for money.” A local church certainly can’t operate without money (for building maintenance, staff salaries, insurance, utilities, various ministries), but the church has far greater and more important expectations of people.
Fortunately, I’ve never heard complaints like: “The church is always asking me to PRAY.” Or “The church is always asking me to READ THE BIBLE.” or “The church is always asking me to come to BIBLE STUDY.” Or “The church is always asking me to GIVE MY HEART AND SOUL TO GOD.” I’ve certainly never heard a complaint: “The church is always asking me to STOP SINNING!” (Speaking of sin, a Sunday School teacher was teaching that God created everything for a purpose. The teacher asked, “So what do you think the purpose of poison ivy is?” One student answered: “God wants us to keep our cotton-pickin’ hands off of some things!”)
During his earthly ministry, some leaders were trying to trap Jesus concerning money, specifically about paying taxes. He asked them for a coin used to pay the tax, asking whose image and title were on the coin. (It was the Emperor’s.) Then he said something that is a well-known statement even today: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
It seems to me that Jesus is asking us to examine our hearts and souls with a question, “Whose inscription and name are there?” Created in the image of God, we’ll find that God is written on our hearts. This Jesus can say to us, “Render unto God the things that are God’s. Render unto God your life!”
For example, we’re called to render unto God our TIME, to give ourselves to God in service, prayer, Bible reading and study, quiet time, and Sabbath (weekly rest and worship).
Render unto God your RELATIONSHIPS. Desmond Tutu (the South African bishop) once gave a sermon about traditions in the church. He spoke about bowing to the cross, saying we should be bowing to each other! When our relationships are God-given, render them unto God.
Render unto God your GRATITUDE. God has given us so much! In gratitude to God, we give to others. We serve others because God has first given to us.
Render unto God your TEMPTATIONS and SINS. But, do our sins belong to God? Yes, by the Cross of Jesus Christ! He took upon himself our sins! So, we’re called to give our sins to God and let God do with them what God wants (that would be repentance and forgiveness!)
So yes, my friends, render unto God your EVERYTHING.