"Jesus said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.' And they marveled at Him" (Mark 12:17).
The two things people say that you should never argue about are...yes, I'm sure you've already thought the answer before finishing reading this line: religion and politics. No, I'm not going to try to tell you what party Jesus would be in, or which candidates are "really" Christians, or that all of one party or the other is going to Heaven, Hell, or some place in between!
In this verse, however, Jesus does present some hard-hitting truths that become easy for many of us to lose sight on. Though in our nation we have the separation of Church and State, you can't separate God and Government. Why? Jesus responds to those who were trying to trip Him up by acknowledging the need to render to the government that which they were responsible and held accountable to do. The same is true today in our lives.
So many people, Christian and non-Christian, spend much time debating, arguing, complaining and mocking those that are in leadership. Somehow we think that because we did not vote for someone, or because we disagree with them that we are allowed, if not obligated, to do show our contempt. The Bible calls us to a higher standard; to honor our leaders; to respect those who are in authority; and teaches us that NO ONE comes to a place of authority without God's hand involved.
As a great lover of political history, and a pastor, I enjoy wrestling with the tough political and theological issues of the day. But, at the end of the day, I have to remember that in everything I do, I am called to honor God. And, I am to render to "Caesar" what is due him. God says that I am to obey the laws of my land, honor and respect my leaders, and be a light that shines the name of Jesus. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's.
I encourage you today to take some time and pray for our leaders. Wherever you are reading this in world, pray God's intervention, His guidance, and His blessing on those that have authority over you. When your leaders are blessed, then so are you blessed! Would you join me today? "Father God, I pray that you bless the leaders of my nation. I ask that You reveal Yourself to them in ways, perhaps, they've never known. I pray Your wisdom and Your guidance would be given to them, received by them, and lived out through them. I thank You for the freedoms we have. Lord, may our heart always be to honor You as we honor the leaders that You have allowed us to have. In Jesus' name, Amen."