Faith and Family

Jones: Balancing life as citizens and Christians

By Lynn Jones

Keeping our balance while walking on a small wire a hundred feet off the ground would be something that most of us could not do. But there are also other things that challenge our sense of balance. How do we keep the books balanced between money coming in and money going out? How do we balance the time we spend on a career with the time we spend with our family? How do we balance the amount of energy that we spend on helping ourselves with helping others?

Jesus was no stranger to this struggle for balance in our lives. In fact, He ran head on into this challenge one day in the temple in Jerusalem. Some men came to Him with a question. They asked, “What is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes unto Caesar or not?” (Matt. 22:17) 

Instead of answering their question with a yes or no, Jesus took a coin and asked, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” They responded, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s” (Matt. 22:19-21).

Christian citizens must balance their responsibilities to our nation and to God. As Jesus said, we have responsibilities to pay our taxes and not evade them. Freedom is never free. It costs. We have an obligation to pay our taxes. We should, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”

In addition to paying our taxes, Christian citizens should pray for their government. Paul wrote, “I urge that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). In our daily prayers, we should pray for our government officials. We might not always agree with them, but we should pray for them.

Not only that, but we should be obedient to the law. Peter said, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake—whether it be to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or unto governors.” (1 Pet. 2:13-14). Christian should be law-abiding citizens. We should obey the law, not because we are afraid of the penalty for breaking the law, but because it is our Christian responsibility to obey the law.

In addition to “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” we must balance it out by “rendering unto God what is God’s.” We owe to Him our love, our obedience, and our offerings. If there is any conflict between the demands of government and God, as Peter said, “We must obey God and not men” (Acts 5:29).

One observer noted that Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Later, many shortened it to, “Give me liberty.” Today, too many simply say “Give me.” 

Instead, a strong nation requires us to be a people who give to others. We must, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s!” 

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at:

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