Giving to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.
"This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering..."
This morning I read in Exodus 35 how the Lord commanded Israel to give willingly and specifically according to the exact requirements He had given over the prior chapters to build the tabernacle.
He even went on in verse 10 to ask those who were able to make the components to make. He wasn't seeking 10%.
He was seeking sincerity in giving.
This is where we can let religious rules overshadow the loving heart of God behind the commands.
Yes, the tithe is clear in the Old Testament, and this isn't to eradicate this. In fact, we have tithed in our marriage. But what we need to get is the heart behind giving.
In Mark 12, we find the Pharisees trying to trip Jesus up with questions yet again, this time around paying taxes to Caesar. This was tricky because the Jews were under Roman rule and did not like it, so paying taxes to Caesar was a heart issue. That's why tax collector's like Matthew were not popular.
How did Jesus respond? He asked to see a coin, asked who was on it, and when they relied Caesar, He told them to give to Caesar what is His.
Here's the thing: man made money.
God made creation.
Yes, we are to keep Jesus at the front of our finances. Yes, we are to support our local church and give.
But what God cares about more than hitting 10% to the penny is your heart to give.
He is asking for us to build His Kingdom with what is needed.
In Exodus 35 He asks for the specific items needed, but also for those who can make the items to serve. It isn't just about giving but serving. But both giving and serving go towards a specific purpose or objective.
So we give to Caesar what is his because it is man-made. We give to God what He calls from us because we are residents of His Kingdom.
"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
-2 Corinthians 9:7
Allow God to show you His will for your giving and serving, and act on it in obedience to Him. Most of all, this produces genuine sincerity, cheerfulness, and love in your giving and serving.
That's what God has wanted all along.