“Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said, ‘Caesar’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard it, they marveled; and they left him and went away.” (Mt 22: 15-22)
Our Lord’s above-quoted, famous “response,” concerning what is “Caesar’s” vs. what is “God’s,” has led to more questions for us than answers, throughout Church History and even to the present day. Because it leaves much to our discernment, particularly the question of what, exactly, is “Caesar’s,” and what, exactly, is “God’s.” In worldly matters, Christ leaves much to our discernment, as He does at another moment, when someone from the crowd demanded from Him, “Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me,” to which demand our Lord, (not One to be bullied by our irresponsible demands), responded, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” (Lk 12: 13-14)
So God Himself, Who leaves to Caesar what is “Caesar’s,” also leaves to “us” the decisions that are “ours,” in our daily responsibilities, whether personal or political or professional. Let me not shy away from discernment and decision-making, when I am called to it, in light of the grace-filled freedom of God’s word.