Devotional Reading: Matthew 22: 15-22
Text: (Jesus replied), “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s. (v. 21)
I am not a good swimmer. I am a poor swimmer, in fact. My parents tried, though. They registered me for swim lessons at the local YMCA, but I never progressed much beyond a “dead man’s float.”
I was afraid of the water and never liked getting my head wet. Part of this fear was well founded. When I was about 8 or 9 years old I had a terrible case of “swimmer’s ear” after swimming in a neighbor’s pool. I never forgot that experience.
A couple of winters I decided that swimming would be a great full body exercise. So, I signed up for adult swim lessons. I’ve gotten better, but I am still very much of a raw amateur.
Bearing this in mind, I plan my swims during the slowest time of “adult swim”. Often I am the only one in the pool. Occasionally, though, the pool is crowded and someone will ask to “share a lane” with me. I warn them that I’m just a beginner and that more often than not I swim in a zigzag line within the lane. They never seem to mind, but I have an added worry. Not only do I have to focus on breathing lest I swallow water and come up coughing, now I have to worry about staying out of their way! I have to “stay in my own lane.”
When Jesus was asked about paying taxes to Caesar he replied by inquiring whose “image” was on the coin. “Caesar’s”, he was told. “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” His inquisitors didn’t see that response coming. They were left essentially speechless, for you see, Jesus essentially told them to “swim in their own lane.”
What they didn’t understand, though, was that God “owns the pool”! “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,” the Psalmist proclaimed (24:1) Everything … EVERYTHING… ultimately belongs to God; even our very lives. We are mere servants of the King.
So, the question to ask ourselves in this Advent season is, “How good of a servant are we of the King? In other words, “Are we good stewards of the King’s things?”
Lord God, give me a wise heart so that I may “swim in my own lane”. Give me a generous spirit so that I can be the steward, the vessel that you intend me to be in this world. Amen.