Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Message from Keith deLaet, High School Teacher

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

In some respects this is a fantastic time of the year. Spring is here, we have just had a nice break, and the time remember and celebrate Jesus’ victory over death is only days away. That always provides a great opportunity to look at life, God’s calling, and how we are doing in our walk with the risen Christ.

Right in there, however, is income tax season. I know a great many people enjoy the challenge of the annual return and I am also aware of the fact that many earn their salary based on their knowledge and application of the IRS tax code. I’m thankful for those people because for me, it might as well be written in a different language. I just don’t follow it and it causes me frustration and fatigue.

In regard to taxes, Jesus message is simple. Give to Caesar, in our case the government, what belongs to them but also remember to give to God what belongs to God. There is no griping about the misuse of tax money or a long discourse on the responsibility of government. The only thing present is the admonition to be a good citizen, fulfill your responsibility. As you do this, Jesus reminds us to also make sure we are also good citizens of the eternal kingdom. Don’t forget to give to God the things that belong to God.

For me this is a wonderful reminder, using the tax season as a lesson in faith. It can be easy to itemize our deductions and see just what we have done with our money. Jesus calls us to step beyond that and to evaluate our entire relationship with God. Give to God that which belongs to God, He says. When we really think about it, it creates a compelling list and begs the question: “Do I really give?”

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