By Marvin Williams
Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. —Matthew 22:21
In a report in USA Today, Rick Hampson wrote: “The young generally don’t have the old-time political religion. They look at voting and see a quaint, irrational act.” One graduate was quoted as saying, “I don’t care enough to care about why I don’t care.” I wonder if this is how we as Jesus-followers sometimes view our civic responsibility!
The insights of Jesus in Matthew 22 helped His followers think clearly about their civic duty in the world. The Jews were required to pay taxes to the Roman government. They hated this taxation because the money went directly into Caesar’s treasury, where some of it supported the pagan temples and decadent lifestyle of the Roman aristocracy. They may have questioned whether they even had a civic responsibility to Caesar. Jesus reminded them, however, that they had dual citizenship. They lived in a world with two kingdoms—Caesar’s kingdom (human authority) and God’s kingdom (spiritual authority). They had responsibilities to both, but their greater responsibility was to God and His kingdom (Acts 5:28-29).
As followers of Christ, we are commanded to cooperate with our rulers, but we are called to give God our ultimate obedience and commitment.
We live today as citizens of two worlds,
And this demands a duty to fulfill;
But greater far should be our heart’s desire
To honor Christ and always do His will. —Hess
Government has authority, but God has ultimate authority.
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC