In Matthew 22:21, Jesus said in referring to taxation, “…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” In the days of Jesus, Jerusalem and all surrounding territory was under the domination of the Romans. On the one hand, the Romans gave the Jews incredible freedom when it came to religious liberty. On the other hand, Jews still had to pay homage and taxes to Rome.
There were a group of Jews known as Zealots. They refused to pay taxes and worked to create political upheaval through sometimes violent acts against Rome. Many Jews hoped that Jesus was the Messiah about to deliver them from Roman oppression.
However in the midst of it all, Jesus never sought change through political channels. The only changes He talked about were changes in the hearts of men and women. His only act of overt forcefulness was overturning the tables of moneychangers in the temple (Matthew 21:12).
I believe that we all need to be politically informed and active. However, we must place our confidence and faith where it does the most good.
Is it wise to invest all or most of our energy to try to change society from the outside instead of helping change the lives of individuals from the inside out?
We have to be careful not to devote all or most of our energy to political effort and social change through activism that we lose focus on the central work of the gospel – to have lives changed through the saving and sanctifying knowledge of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, we walk a fine line between working to redeem society through the political process that has been so freely given to us in this country and working to spread the good news of Jesus and the things He can do in our lives.
There is one thing I know for sure. The main thing is to love God and to love people and to make disciples. Politics and programs or movements for social change should never overshadow our God-given mandates regarding the gospel.
Something to think about…