Taxes are due. Yay!
Okay, maybe not. Chances are that even if you’re getting a return this year, you’re not thrilled about how much we have to pay in taxes. Every time you turn around, you’re taxed.
- Earn money? Tax.
- Buy something? Tax.
- Pump gas? Tax.
- Employ someone? Tax.
Taxes taxes taxes.
If you’re like most people I know, you wish they were less. (especially here in New York State).
- Do you have some heartburn about the current state of the union?
- Do you pay your taxes with a grudge?
Join the club.
A bunch of smart religious guys once tried to ping Jesus about paying taxes. This is how it went down:
13 Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 14 “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?”
Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.” 16 When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
His reply completely amazed them. (Mark 12:13-17 NLT)
Could you imagine how repulsed they were at Jesus’ words?
The occupying Roman government was harsh and oppressive. Israelites in Jesus’ day were subjects. They were not independent. Their nation had been overrun by people who worshiped, thought and acted differently then them. It was not a fun time to be an Israeli family.
So these guys put Jesus on the spot. Should we pay taxes to this “evil empire”?
His reply completely amazed them.
Why? Because Jesus cut right through the politics and got to the heart of the matter. If our hearts do not fully belong to God, then we’re always going to believe that the current “powers that be” are running the show. The truly spiritual know that God is in control, no matter what the current administration is doing. He is bigger than history, outside of it. He moves history for His purposes, and every believer is a part of the counter-cultural movement of Christ. Or at least we can be.
This Jesus of ours suggested that people fund the government that would soon execute him. He also demanded a fierce allegiance to the true Kingdom to which every believer belongs, the Kingdom that He came to usher in.
So as you file your taxes, perhaps grudgingly, let me ask the same question that Jesus did.
Are you giving to God what is God’s?
- Is your heart 100% submitted to Him and His will?
- Are you living a life, as Jesus did, that thrives inwardly even in the face of outward oppression?
- Is your faith causing your spirit to flourish, no matter what happens in the White House or the Senate?
If you’re bitter towards the government, you’re bitter. And that’s not what we’re called to.
Time to give to God what is God’s. You’ll be relieved when you do.