Tomorrow is May 17th and Tax Day in the United States. This day is dreaded by many, including me. Anyone who thinks the tax system in the U.S. is fair, probably doesn’t pay a penny in taxes. A flat tax is the only fair system, and because it’s fair, we’ll never see it. Our system of government isn’t about what is fair, but rather what looks fair.
Matthew the tax collector
Christian’s familiar with the Bible are keenly aware of taxes and tax collectors. The Apostle Matthew was a tax collector, although I would suggest a reformed one. The scriptures tell us a great deal about paying taxes. Romans 13:6-7 says “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Now many today would argue that our government authorities are anything but ministers of God, but the reality of the message us still very real.
Can’t shake that feeling
I can’t shake the feeling that I pay more than my fair share in taxes each year. I try to think of the good my taxes support, like those less fortunate, but I also know my taxes support evil and that bothers me a lot. Luke 3:12-13 tells us that: Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” My guess is that members of our U.S. Congress haven’t read verse 13.
What would Jesus Do?
Matthew 22:21 answers what Jesus thought about taxes. “Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” We can’t escape taxes, but it seems a lot of folks escape from tithing. If you can accept that everything we have is provided by God, including our sources of income, then hopefully you recognize we are only stewards of God’s gifts. So as easily as your employer takes out taxes from your check on payday, we should use that as a reminder to render to God the things that are God’s.
Paying taxes never seems to be a happy occurrence but tithing to God warms the heart.