August Blog - Women's Ministry

Hi, Ladies! I’ve only gotten to meet a few of you, but my name is Kathryn Ryken, and I’ve had the honor of serving as an intern with the Connect & Grow team at Woodmen this summer!

Part of our internship program is a weekly day of intern class to develop us as we get to take part in different ministries around the church. Howie Close, the campus pastor at Ark Valley came in and spoke to us about Matthew 22:15-22, and it was so impactful for me that I wanted to share it with you as well!

In these verses, the Pharisees come to trap Jesus by asking him a trick question. First, they flatter Him with their words by saying that He seems like the kind of man who doesn’t care what other people think. Then they ask, “Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” (NIV). Their setup was intentional: Jesus did not care what other people thought, yet this question was intended to inflame Jesus’ audience, depending on His answer. If He said that it is right to pay taxes to Caesar, it would upset the oppressed Jews. If Jesus said it was wrong to pay taxes, He would be speaking out against Caesar and the entire Roman Empire. Jesus sees right through the Pharisees’ plot, though, and has them hand Him a coin before He asks, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” The Pharisees give the obvious answer: Caesar. Then Jesus replies, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Pastor Howie made a point that I’d never heard about this passage. What bears God’s image? We do. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in the image of God. If the coin belongs to Caesar because His image is on it, then we belong to God because we bear His image. In this passage, Jesus tells us that we then belong to God, and everything we do is giving ourselves back to Him. Each of the specific ways that we have been created, not just physically, but our stories: where we grew up, what we’re passionate about, our friendships, our families, our gifts and abilities — these belong to God and should be given back to building His kingdom on Earth.

- Kathryn Ryken