22nd Sunday after Pentecost 16.10.16 Authority
Give to God what is God’s, says Our Lord.
What is His? Everything. We own certain things, like houses, cars, dogs, money. God owns all those things too, insofar as we are accountable to Him for how we use them.
As when a tenant uses the house, the landlord has an interest in how well the tenant looks after the property. God is the Landlord of the whole creation!
We use the things He give us, but it is all His. We are here only at His pleasure.
This insight makes a lot of human activity look very strange. Lots of people make lots of important decisions without any reference to God.
Political decisions, economic decisions, moral decisions. Some people think they are ruling their nation, but there is only ruler of the whole world.
Kings and Presidents and Prime Ministers are exercising only the authority that God has delegated.
We are not allowed to mention God, however, because it might offend those who do not believe in Him!
He is there anyway, whether we mention Him or not.
If we do not give Him due honour, then that is a sin against the First Commandment, and leads to great trouble and chaos.
We cannot run a country, or a world, or even one life, if we do not give due place to God.
The only way we can have order, balance, and happiness, is if we are prepared to obey Almighty God, and give Him what is His.
He is not oppressive after all. Many human governments are oppressive. We can see why people would not want to pay tax to them, let alone obey them, eg Communist governments.
With God, however, there is nothing to fear. He is all good, all wise, just and kind.
He will actually protect the people and look after them.
It is insanity to turn away from such power, and such goodness.
We are not allowed to ignore Him, but why would anyone want to anyway?
Whatever life, or nation, or world we can have, we will never do better than by obeying God.
We give Him our ‘coin’, which means our whole lives.
We give Him our time, our plans, our ambitions, our desires – all these will work better under His direction.
We live in a very strange world where a vast number of people either deny God's existence or His relevance; or, even if they believe these things they still disobey.
These attitudes are so common that they have become part of the structure of our whole society. It even could seem normal after a while but it is insane.
We, however, will believe; we will give Him first place; we will obey Him. That is the only sane way to live this life.
Our reward, at first anyway, will be to be called an extremist, or similar derogatory term.
Let all the world be ‘extreme’ if it means God can rule His own universe. If it lets God be God, and the laws of the land reflect His laws. If the Lord’s Day be respected, and every knee bow before Him.
It is a wonder we have lasted this long with such persistent denial of God. It is because He wants to give us time to repent.
One of these days it might be too late. Who knows how long we have, but the general standard of society seems to be slipping all the time.
Let’s make sure we don’t take any longer to get ourselves into the right position – giving back what He has given us, undamaged, and multiplied (like the servants returning the talents, Mt 25,14-30).