“Whose picture is on the money?”
he asked, before there was paper money
peopled with presidents. I’ve got a Lincoln,
Hamilton, and a couple of Washingtons
bunched up in my pants pocket; wait –
lucky day: there’s a Jackson in there, too.
Not too many Benjamins around our house.
“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,”
he said, centuries before rendering had
anything to do with cooking. Still, for
centuries chefs have rendered the fat from
ducks and pigs, cooking it long and slow until
the impurities burn away, and straining it to leave
a clear , pure fat that holds heat and flavor.
I can burn through a pocket full of money
as well as the next person, without even looking
at the pictures, turning presidents into
groceries, gasoline, and a coffee or two along
the way. The long, slow flame of intentionality
is harder to feed, and wait on. My purchasing
doesn’t necessarily point to purification.
“Render to God what is God’s,” he said.
If the picture of a president points to possession,
the same is true of the image of the Creator.
I own nothing and owe everything; I’m not
the renderer, but the one being rendered: purified,
clarified, flavored (if you will), in a refiner’s fire,
down to the obvious inscription: “In God We Trust.”