Twice in Mark 12, the issue of money comes up.
First, in verse 13-17, the Pharisees attempt to trap Jesus into either betraying His people or speaking against Rome by asking, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”
But Jesus famously says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” The most important issue for Jesus was not whether or not people should pay their taxes, it was where their allegiance ultimately rested. He basically said, “pay taxes, but know that you do not belong to this world, in fact, this world belongs to God, so if Caesar wants his coins, give them to him, but God owns everything and deserves everything from us.”
The second place in Mark 12 that deals with money is in the closing verses of the chapter, where Jesus observes a poor widow giving all she has in the offering box. When He sees this, Jesus exclaims:
“Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
After commanding the Pharisees to give all to the Lord, Jesus sees this woman do just that. Caesar had most likely taken a good portion of her money, and all she had left, she gave to the Lord. Her example is exactly what Jesus commends in the verse above: God owns everything, so give everything to Him.
What woud it look like to live our lives this way? I wonder how many of us would live in the house we have now, or drive the car we drive now. God is calling all of us to give up everything for the sake of His glory, and we are constantly holding on to things in an attempt to maintain the lives we like. But God calls us to a better life, one where material possessions are used for His glory, and our lives become testimonies to the grace of a good and righteous God.