“Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’” -Matthew 22:21b
If you don’t know the background of this verse, let me take a minute to explain it to you. The Pharisees were trying to get Jesus to commit a sin so that they had a basis for arresting Him. They went up to Him one day and asked Him if it was right to pay taxes. Jesus, being the super smart guy He was, knew what they were trying to do (of course) and asked them to show Him a coin. Jesus then asked the Pharisees whose face was on the coin; they of course replied with “Caesar’s,” because that’s whose face was on it. Jesus then said the statement found in verse 21 (stated above). The Pharisees attempt to catch Jesus sinning was foiled to say the least, and they left amazed at His answer.
When most of us read this passage, the thing that jumps to the forefront of our mind is tithing money. Jesus talks a lot in the New Testament about tithing and giving some of what we have back to Him. Most Christians think of the typical 10 percent tithing rule: we make money, cut 10 percent out and write a check to our home church, and do with the rest both what is necessity and desire. However, there are more things to tithe than simply money; we can tithe our time, talents, and abilities as well. While in this Advent season I’d like to think of tithing in a different light.
This year Advent is 28 days; 28 days is not even 10 percent of our year. I’d like to challenge you to give this Advent season to God. What do I mean by “give this season to God?” Well, this will look very different for each one of you. Say you’re new to Christianity; perhaps doing daily devotionals or committing to praying once or twice a day (and before meals doesn’t quite cut it) is a good way you can take an active step to commit this time to God. Now what if you’re a spiritual pro; I’m talking daily devotionals every day, praying all the time, I mean you and Jesus are tight! Then I want to challenge you to really set aside this Advent season to focus on Jesus’ humanity. Spend extra time in prayer and thought over why Jesus really came to earth – for messed up people just like you and me. But my challenge to each and every one of you is not to get so wrapped up in the Christmas shopping, Santa pictures and Christmas cards, decorating the house, learning all the words to every Christmas song ever written, and everything else that comes with the Christmas season; but instead tithe this Advent season to God and let Him use this time for His purpose.
Sarah Herman is a former camper, frequent volunteer at camp and a student at Eastern University.