Render: to give back, return, or restore; to give as due

The word “render” stuck out to me a few weeks ago as I was reading through the Gospels in my handy dandy chronological Bible.

I’m still working through them, but I find it interesting that as we approach Easter I’m reading through Jesus’ last week before his crucifixion. (That was an extra for anyone wondering how far along I’ve gotten this year.)

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each write about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to a specific audience and with a particular purpose. Because they share his life from different vantage points, they often give varying accounts with unique details.

What I never would have noticed by reading through these books one at a time is the details that differ versus the ones that are identical.

And now we arrive back at “render”. Read the following verses, and you’ll see what I mean. Feel free to look up the context for each passage to see how similar the accounts are beyond the verses below.

“They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'” (Matthew 22:21 NKJV).

“And Jesus answered and 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 12:14b-17 NKJV).

“And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'” (Luke 20:25 NKJV).

The only difference among those three quotes of Jesus is that Mark leaves out a “therefore”.

For all three authors to get the details so close must mean something, right? To me it almost calls for a neon blinking arrow pointed straight at these passages–the message must be important here!!

Let’s look at our definition again.

Render: to give back, return, or restore; to give as due

Render to Caesar

Caesar was the head of the government of the day, and he demanded taxes. Governments of today demand taxes. Taxes really are nothing new!

I know there are folks who don’t think they owe the government anything, even though they enjoy paved roads, snowplows, and national defense, among other things.

I’m not here to discuss what I think the tax rate should be, or how to manage an overhaul of the tax system to make things more fair for everyone. What I am here to say is that paying taxes is the Christian thing to do. Just ask Jesus. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”

Render to God

It seems that the second half of Jesus’ instruction often gets lost, as if no one can stomach hearing anything after being told to pay their taxes!

“Render to God the things that are God’s.” The things we give back to God include so much more than just money.

Here are just a few things that are God’s due:

  • Our love for him: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30 NLT).

We are to love God with our everything. Nothing is to be more important to us than he is.

  • Our love for others: “The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:31 NLT).
  • Our tithe: In order to help maintain the Temple in Jerusalem, Jews were expected to pay a Temple Tax (see Matthew 17:24-27). Nowadays we pay a tithe to our local church to help maintain the facility, pay staff, and provide for any ministry programs or outreach.

Going a little deeper:

Everything we have is a gift from God–our time, our talent, our resources, and more. Out of all that he provides, we are to turn around and give some of it back to him.

How can we give these things back to him?

By using them to bless others. We all have something we can give away!

Paul wrote it like this: “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” (Romans 13:8 NLT).

Volunteering for a local community non-profit, making a meal for someone recovering from injury or illness, teaching a senior how to use a new laptop, driving someone to the store when they’re without a car . . . the opportunities to love our neighbors are endless.

Now It’s Your Turn!

What has God given you that you can turn around and give away? Time? Talent? Resources?

Have you considered how to “render to God,” giving him his due in your life? If not, what is one step you can take today to begin?

I would love to read your reaction in the comments below!

8 thoughts on “Rendering”

  1. While he was no pushover, Jesus fundamentally was about compassion and charity. He clearly would not tolerate the accumulation of tens of billions of dollars by individual people — especially while so many others go hungry and homeless.
    Today, when a public figure openly supports a guaranteed minimum income, he/she is nevertheless deemed communist/socialist and therefore somehow evil by many institutional Christians. This, while Christ’s teachings epitomize the primary component of socialism — do not hoard morbidly superfluous wealth in the midst of poverty.
    I, a believer in Christ’s unmistakable miracles, can imagine many ‘Christians’ likely finding inconvenient, if not annoying, trying to reconcile the conspicuous inconsistency in the fundamental nature of the New Testament’s Jesus with the wrathful, vengeful and even jealous nature of the Old Testament’s Creator. Personally, I picture Jesus enjoying a belly-shaking laugh over a good joke with his disciples, now and then.
    I believe Christ was most viciously murdered in large part because he did not in the least behave in accordance to such corrupted and greedy human conduct and expectation — and in particular because he was nowhere near to being the vengeful, wrathful behemoth so many people seemingly wanted or needed their savior to be and therefore believed he’d have to be.
    Maybe Christ died in large part because people consciously or subconsciously want(ed) and/or need(ed) their creator’s nature to be a reflection of theirs. And, yes, Jesus also offended some high priests, money changers and Romans in-charge.


    1. I am so grateful the Old Testament is also replete with references to God’s love, tender mercy, and compassion. It was his mercy that planned Christ’s sacrifice from the beginning (Gen. 3) to restore relationship between Creator and created. I pray that we, in turn, can begin showing sacrificial love, tender mercy and compassion to one another through the help of the Holy Spirit. Have a blessed, blessing-others kind of day! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Every morning and throughout the day, surrender to Christ in me (John 14:20; Romans 6-8; 12:1-2; Colossians 1:27) as He lives His life out of me. At the point of salvation, I did not give myself to Christ; He gave Himself to me (John 1:12) and lives His life out of me. I can’t live the Christian life; Jesus did not live the Christian life; He is the Christian life. So I give up my life that He may live His life.
    Thanks for writing!! Keep on keeping on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lauri, this is beautiful. I love the theme of “rendering”; yes, to Caesar and to God! The one thing that I really strive to do is give of my time and love to others. Today, I will visit my special adult friends and I’m thrilled to serve on their Board. I want to be the hands of feet and Jesus; even though there are days my health may seem challenging, God still blesses! God bless you, Lauri! Thank you for your inspiring post!

    Liked by 1 person

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