Ben was a football coach in the local junior high school. He was very good at putting together great teams. On one particular occasion his team was playing a game that he really wanted to win. In the second quarter his best player got hurt; and the boy insisted on continuing to play. Ben really wanted this win, so he sent the kid back in, and he let him play the next set of downs. But then suddenly he thought to himself, “What am I doing? The boy might have a concussion. I’m playing around with the rest of his life!” Ben called the boy’s father out of the stands and told him that his son should be taken to the Emergency Room and be checked out.
The game was lost in the last quarter.
Years later, when Ben retired, many of his former players showed up for his retirement celebration. His assistant coach, Dan, was one of the speakers. He told the people present that Ben was a great coach who taught young people the fundamentals of life—-the values that were important. Then Dan said, “The moment I knew we had a quality coach was when Ben, concerned that one of his players might have had a serious injury which could lead to something more serious, took that boy out of the game and made sure he was taken to the hospital. The lost game didn’t matter. That’s when I realized Ben knew what was important in life. It wasn’t about wins. Ben’s faith helped him overcome the world’s desire for success.” Then Dan concluded his speech by saying, “This is a Christian man who knows that people are way more important than wins. And I am sure that God looks at it the same way.”
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”. This is what Jesus says to the Pharisees who are trying to trip Him up. Repay to Caesar what belongs to him—-the coin with Caesar’s image. Repay to God what belongs to God—-the human person stamped with God’s image.
How do we repay to God what belongs to God? By trying every day to conform our will to the Father. Here’s what the opening prayer states: Grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart”.
Ben, in the story, was a person who, by his good example to so many young people, showed that he was stamped with the image of God. He gave back to God what was God’s, his life lived in faith and integrity.
We are also asked to give back to God what is God’s, namely our life lived in faith and sincerity of heart.