Prayer: Help me to remember that I am yours, O Lord.
Reading: Matthew 22:15-22 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: What confuses me in this text? Just about everything. Especially Jesus’ “answer” to the Pharisees. It’s not really an answer. It seems to me to be a dodge. Theirs is a “yes or no” type question. Is it legal or not? Jesus doesn’t answer with a yes or no. Rather he engages them into a consideration of life as it is. The fact that they have the coin with which to pay the tax indicates that they already pay the tax. Hmmmm. Gotcha!!
But Jesus’ non-answer ends up being a challenging doozy. Give to God the things that are God’s. Another hmmmmm. That’s everything, right? God’s claim on us is complete. God’s claim embraces the entirety of our lives. We are to give to God everything we’ve got. That sort of makes paying taxes a rather insignificant claim, doesn’t it?
We have neither the capacity nor the will to give our whole being to God. The best we can do is to remember that we are His. Always. And entirely. --Jim Bricker
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