Joe Louis has been called the greatest prize fighter of all time and for good reason. He reigned as heavyweight champion from 1937-1949, the longest span of any titleholder. When asked by a reporter who hit him the hardest Joe Louis replied, “Uncle Sam’s taxes.” He had raised $90,000 by charitable fights, personally seeing none of it. The IRS later credited these amounts as taxable income. Although most proceeds went directly to his handlers, he owed over one million in taxes and interest by 1950. Hit hard indeed!
Today’s verse is appropriate on the deadline for filing taxes. The Pharisees were looking to trap Jesus with His words. As the Romans were an occupying force, they asked if it was right to pay taxes to them. These self-righteous religious leaders called Jesus a “man of integrity” but Jesus understood the evil intent of their hearts. He asked whose image was on the coin and when they answered Caesar’s, Jesus responded with this familiar verse.
The question for me is never if I agree with the government’s policies. If I only paid taxes to a government I agreed with then my bill would be significantly reduced! But my obligation to the government pales in comparison to what I owe the Lord. His image is not on my coin but on my heart. I bear His image as His child and I owe Him everything; my whole heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27). I cannot ever repay Him for what He did for me on that cross. He bought me with an incredible price (I Cor. 6:20). I owe Him everything.
Thank you Lord, for paying the price I could not.