About Paying Taxes
This was one of my first “Gospel-notes,” written in Key West, Florida 40 years ago in ’79. Since we are still paying taxes in the U.S. (now more than ever), it still seems relevant. . . Recently, most of us went through our solemn assembly of figures called Income Taxes. After putting off the headache as long as possible, we broke down and took care of the matter. Some made out nicely and got some bucks back, while others lost a few more to their dismay. Oh, the income tax season – what a joy it is.
But there is a man who got his forms like everyone else this year, and used a different strategy. While owing money to the IRS, he attached a statement to the blank forms and sent them in with a smile. The statement indicated that he appreciated the government and believed in paying taxes, and had always felt that way. Our friend has always been a good citizen and hopes it will make a difference to the Feds. We would all say to him, “good luck fella and good bye.”
Now obviously, his kind of logic is folly, but the fact is, many of us are like him. You see, in a very real sense God is a governor and He requires certain things of us. Many respond to their accountability to Him by saying, “I’ve always believed in God,” or some similar line. They ignore Christ’s sacrifice, ignore Christian fellowship, never give a nickel, and generally live as if there is no such thing as judgment day. Thousands of years ago people were doing about the same things which brought this response from the prophet Malachi: “You say, ‘How have we despised thy name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. And you say, ‘How have we polluted it?’ By thinking that the LORD’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that no evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that no evil? Present that to your governor: will he be pleased with you or show you favor?” In another place we read, “What does it profit my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?. . . So, faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” In other words, lip service is no service.
Hardly anyone assumes that the IRS is gullible or ignorant. Why assume that God is? “He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?” It might be added that He who formed the brain, does he not think? So let’s give God His place in our lives and see if He doesn’t reveal himself to us and bless us. Jesus Christ said this, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” If we expect Him to deal with us favorably, we need to deal with Him that way. Let’s “pay our taxes” by responding to Jesus Christ and getting involved in a church that honors Him. Scriptures referred to are: Malachi 1:7-9, James 2:14 & 17, Psalm 94:9, and John 14:21, RSV
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