The Bible Says to Give to Caesar What is Caesar’s and to God What is God’s
While there is no biblical command to give 10 percent of our income to the local church, that doesn’t mean we should ignore giving.
Jesus’s detractors try to trick him into saying something condemnable about paying taxes. They figure they can use his words against him regardless of how he responds.
If he tells them to pay taxes, then they can accuse him of putting the Roman government over God (of literally worshiping Caesar instead of God). And if he tells them not to pay taxes to the ungodly Romans, then they can turn him over to the authorities for treason or even insurrection.
Either way they win.
Jesus responds wisely. He tells them to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Luke 20:22-25). Once again Jesus foils their seemingly foolproof plan to discredit him.
But how exactly do we give to God?
As a small kid I connected our church’s offering ritual with Jacob’s ladder in the Bible (aka the stairway to heaven, Genesis 28:12). The ushers passed the plates and walked the collection up the aisle to the minister.
I assumed that on Monday he would climb Jacob’s ladder to heaven and actually give our gifts directly to God. It made sense to me then. And it made giving gifts to God so easy.
So the question remains, how do we give our gifts to God? Since I can’t actually make out a check to God and hand it to him, what am I to do?
Again, Jesus has the answer. In a parable he teaches that whatever we do to help the less fortunate, we effectively do for God (Matthew 25:40).
So we give to God by helping the poor. We can help them tangibly address their physical struggles and we can help them eternally by meeting their spiritual needs.
We can do this directly through our own actions, and we can do this indirectly when we support organizations that help those in need as they point them to Jesus.
If your local church can do this most effectively, then give to them. But check their budget first. For most churches only a very small fraction of the money donated is actually used to help those outside the church.
If another organization has less overhead and uses a higher percentage of donations to help others, then give to them.
Remember, we are to be wise stewards of the money God entrusts to us. We want to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) and not “You wicked, lazy servant!” (Matthew 25:26). May we use our money wisely to advance God’s kingdom and hear his approval.
How do you give money to God? How do you ensure you are a wise steward with the money God assigns to you?
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.