As a Christian, April brings the event that makes us all Christian. In April, usually, we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. With resurrection comes our freedom from death and brings us life eternal. We must, however, in the mean time, live in this world and April also brings us to a reminder that we do live in this world. For April brings tax time.
I suppose I could go on and on about paying taxes or not, however, we can look to Jesus and his answer to some who asked him about that very question:
“Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?15Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.”16And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” 17Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:14b-17a)
I, like everyone else, well most anyway, pay my taxes on time and in full. I also pay to God what is God’s. The taxes that I pay are a higher percentage than what is God’s. Yet it is for each person to determine what is the emperor’s and what is God’s. And this might be where some conflict appears.
Use of the full tax law including but not limited to every deduction one can find or have found for them, is what is the ‘emperor’s.’ The result may vary from no tax, to very little, to more and to much more. Fortunately what is God’s, may be simpler.
The Old Testament tells us that 1/10th of all we have or gain belongs to God. That is pretty simple. However, the New Testament tells us something different. There is NO percentage mentioned in the New Testament about the amount that is God’s. Therefore, a tithe may be any percentage you wish it to be. Imagine if the federal tax law read the same? I wonder how much people would give to support their government?
There is some commonality between the tax to the government and gifts we return to God. In both cases, we want the money to be used for the benefit of all. Gifts to the church are accountable to the givers by financials that tell the givers where the money is going. The amount of gift each family or person gives is known only to a few within the church. The same can be said of the tax paid to the government. I wonder what the thoughts would be if everyone knew what everyone else gave to the church and/or the government?
Perhaps John Wesley said it best about this subject:
Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.
Peace and Blessings