Tax Day

by DanWolgemuth on April 14, 2023

There is something about April 15th that triggers a reminder in the head of most American Tax payers. Tax Day.

And of course… because tax day is not allowed to fall on a weekend or holiday, we are gifted with three extra days to file in 2023.

Ironically, it was a question about taxes that Christ’s most vehement critics tried to use to trap him. Matthew, the ex-tax collector himself records it this way…

“Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Matthew 22:16-17)

But Jesus, aware of their scheme, their motivation, and the complicated nuances of His answers volleyed back…

“Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

And yes, they were amazed at His answer.

Frankly, so should we.

“Give to Caesar…” AND “give to God…”

In other words, be a good citizen, but reserve your worship for your God.

In a sense Jesus was saying to the Pharisees… and to the disciples… “Rome is not the problem.” Not the heavy handed, oppressive and arrogant Romans, but unrepentant, self-righteous, and self-absorbed hearts were. This was not a loyalty problem, but a worship problem. 

Yes, make sure your taxes are paid on time, and with prudent accuracy… but don’t send your reverence with your check. That belongs to God.

Only to God.

And while the disciples had been with Jesus for nearly three years, they somehow still believed that a Roman overthrow was God’s ultimate plan. At least that is what they hoped. Perhaps until the very end.

Yet, before I’m too critical of the twelve, I wonder if I too gravitate in the direction of hoping that some sort of shift in our political or power structure would solve our cultural issues.

On Tax Day we help to fund our government, but we don’t secure our future.

On Tax Day we help to pave streets and build bridges, but we don’t build treasure in heaven.

On Tax Day we make an investment in aircraft carriers and police cars, but we don’t ensure our safety.

On Tax Day we fuel the sputtering engine of civil government, but we don’t imagine that this structure competes with the King who sits on a throne.

April 18, 2023… render to Caesar. Send your check. Cash your refund, but never make the mistake of believing that this is a down payment on hope. That comes when we render to our God, what rightly belongs only to Him.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: