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Matthew 22:15–22 ‘“Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”’ (vv19–21)

The extremes God went to in recovering His friendship with humanity suggests a significant disconnect between this world’s kingdom and God’s. Finding Him is no guarantee we’ll live in His kingdom. Discerning His kingdom’s partial reality within our time–space world demands our full attention, and our deliberate choice. I can enter into an enriching relationship with a partner, yet deliberately disregard learning anything about their family. I remember my own strange sense of abandonment a year after my first wife, Katey, died. Her family, who I’d grown to know well during 30 years of marriage, were now suddenly absent from my life. I encountered a much greater loss than I expected as a familiar world closed its doors to me. 

Fourteen years on, their world no doubt continues, yet is lost to me. The Pharisees can’t distinguish between two competing kingdoms, God’s and theirs. The kingdom of this world is subject to human rule, and often misrule, whilst the kingdom of heaven is subject to God’s rule. Whilst our feet remain rooted on earth, our creator has an alternative manifesto for life to that of the well oiled wheels managed by ever-changing, elected governments. 

God is unchanging, as are the imperatives of His kingdom. Simple principles we subscribe to for good order on earth, which alone reveal God’s light and love to all. We need not set aside human laws to serve God, but we most certainly do need to learn to live God’s kingdom rhythm on earth, for the benefit of all.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Deut. 28:1–14; Isa. 40:18–26; Acts 5:27–40; Rom. 13:1–7.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Where are the boundaries between the kingdom of this earth and the kingdom of God in your life today?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to always know the difference. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.