Blessed… And a Light Bulb Went On”

Then the Pharisees met together to find a way to trap Jesus in his words. They sent their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are genuine and that you teach God’s way as it really is. We know that you are not swayed by people’s opinions, because you don’t show favoritism. So tell us what you think: Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Knowing their evil motives, Jesus replied, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin used to pay the tax.” And they brought him a denarion. “Whose image and inscription is this?” he asked.  “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” When they heard this they were astonished, and they departed (Matthew 22:15-22, Common English Bible).

Very early in my ministry, in fact, I was not even serving as a pastor but waiting for my first appointment. The pastor of my home church asked me to preach one Sunday morning. I went to the Common Lectionary (a three year cycle of scripture that can provide pastors a place to start each week). I turned to the Scriptures for that week. I went immediately to the Gospel lesson, this lesson.

Previously in my life, I had always heard this lesson used during stewardship times. The preacher would say, “You have to give the government your taxes and you have to give God your tithes,” or words to that effect.”

When I finished reading the lesson I immediately turned to one of the other lessons (there is a Psalm, an Old Testament lesson and an Epistle lesson). I didn’t want to use one of my rare preaching opportunities to preach about money. If preaching about money were necessary, that was the preacher’s job.

I don’t remember what lesson I looked at first but in an effort to avoid this story, I read them all. Each time I kept coming back and re-reading our lesson for today. My pastor had told me he didn’t care what I preached on that morning. So, when nothing in the lectionary was speaking to me, or so I thought, I went to what at the time was a very lean and limited file cabinet. Today my files hold some 600 sermons. Then there were maybe 15. And, nothing there was jumping out at me either. I ended up back at “Render unto Caesar…”

I kept reading and re-reading the story. I went to commentaries and read what the “experts” had to say. Oh, and I forgot to say this earlier but I didn’t forget to do it, I prayed. I know at least some of my prayers were, “Lord, I don’t want to preach this text, I don’t want to preach about money. Isn’t there something else I could preach instead?”

There wasn’t. That was the bad news. But, there was good news too. Somewhere about the 50th time I read it (it may have been the 250th time, I don’t remember). A light bulb went on in my mind. I had an ah-ha moment for really the first time in my life.

Since that moment I have never again minded preaching or teaching this particular story from the Bible. But, more on that tomorrow.

Has God given you a light bulb moment? What did God show to you?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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