Bring Me A Coin

A recent scientific journal reported on the 11 year cycle of our sun. It turns out that every 11 years our sun flips its polar magnetic poles. This affects the number of sunspots and other solar phenomena that ripples all the way out to the edge of our solar system.

Fascinating information. And much like other bits of information too big for any of us to have any control over in our lives, we get to ask the legitimate question “So what?”

And the answer to that question is a statement that I have found useful in my own life as I’ve attempted to be a purposeful believer this year of our Lord 2013. The answer is “You don’t get extra points for being uninformed!” In other words, ignorance is rarely a virtue.

And the power of information invites us to understanding and understanding fosters both patience and insight into the wonders of God’s good creation. But the mere gathering of information isn’t enough. There must be a foundational reality that allows for the information to become actually more useful than winning a trivial pursuit game.

The foundational insight is revealed to us today in our Gospel Lesson.

As we reach the half-way mark in the Festal Season of Christmas (it’s the sixth day after all – six geese a laying = the Six Days of Creation) and we approach the beginning of a secular New Year, we are invited by our Gospel Lesson to examine our foundational perspectives.

Jesus is again in the situation He is all too often in the Gospels. He is the center of controversy with the religious leaders of His day and they are trying to trip Him up so they can discredit Him. And, as usual, they fail. Ain’t that always the way?

These hypocrites start with flattery and then they lay their philosophical trap. But the Lord knows clearly His foundational reality and He throws them off once again. They bring Him a question about ultimate loyalty so they ask Him if it is lawful to pay taxes to the occupying (and very unpopular) government of Rome. He sees through their trickery and turns them and their question upside down. “Bring me a coin” He says. Then He asks them “whose face is on this coin?” They respond “Caesar’s.” So He tells them “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” See Mark 12:13-17

But that presupposes one knows what belongs to this world and what belongs to God, doesn’t it?

Do you have a clear picture as to what your priorities should be regarding your everyday life of bills, career, family, and society AND your daily devotion to God? The insight into that balanced life will determine your ability to both learn from past mistakes and helpfully evaluate your priorities. That means exercising your energies daily in knowing God and His will for your life must simply always be at the TOP of your list of priorities. Your ability to govern the rest of your life depends on your prioritizing your faith as the foundational principle of your everyday living.

Today, as we celebrate the 6th Day of the Feast, and our lives turn toward a new year, let one of your internal inventory tasks be to evaluate just where on your list of priorities your faith rests. Allowing the Spirit of God and the faith of the Church to turn your own “magnetic” poles rightside up will set you free to never value the foolish notion that “ignorance is bliss” but embrace an examined and purposeful life. This is the way of wisdom. This is being Orthodox on Purpose.

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