“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
In these words, Jesus gives us the blueprint for flourishing in any society.
We can easily know what rightly belongs to a society from its constitutions and laws. We give the society its due by following its legitimate laws and responsibly pursuing the common good of all in the society.
But what is it that belongs to God that we must give to Him always? Reflecting on ourselves with eyes of faith, we realize that we are created in the image and likeness of God. We belong to Him as His creatures. Likewise, we see ourselves covered in the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, and made His beloved children in Christ, “You are not your own, you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.” (1Cor 6:19-20) We thus belong to God as His creatures and His beloved children.
Thus, what we must first offer to God is the complete gift of ourselves – body, soul, mind, will, heart, etc. We can offer many things to God e.g., money, time, goods, labors, sufferings, talents, etc. But our offering to God is incomplete as long as we are not offering ourselves to Him completely. This is what belongs to Him and what He wants above all things.
We learn from St. Paul how we can actually offer ourselves to God completely. He thanked God and prayed that the Thessalonians continued to give themselves to God through the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We give ourselves to God by a life of faith in God and His words. Our “work of faith” is a life of obedience to the words of God to us. Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, we “treasure and ponder His words in our hearts,”(Lk 2:19) so that we can “hear and observe it.”(Lk 8:21) All our actions should show our faith in God, and they should also strengthen our faith in Him. We do not just follow our blind emotions or animal instincts. Neither do we act out of human respect or to conform to public opinion.