Tax Day!

Well, Naomi and I just finished up our taxes. Don’t you just hate doing your taxes every year? Doing your taxes together will try a couples Christianity won’t it? But the next morning I woke up and guess what scripture was running through my head? The Bible passage when the Jews were trying to trip up Jesus about where His loyalty lay. This is what they asked Him, Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not (Matthew 22:17)?” This “Imperial Tax” was a tax that was levied on all of Rome’s conquered subjects, not on Roman citizens. So, picture this, the Romans were the foreigners here and even worse, they were forcing the Jews to bow down to their rules and regulations! And the Romans were taking up residence in the Promised Land, the land that God had promised to father Abraham thousands of years before. The Romans had the gall to implement an imperial tax! Talk about rubbing salt in the wound! So, the religious leaders sent their rabble rousers to Jesus to trap Him in His words. If Jesus said yes, then they could turn the Jewish people against them. If He said no, then they could turn the Roman government on Him. They thought they had Jesus in a real pickle.     But Jesus knew their evil hearts and He said in verse 19-21, “Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought Him a denarius and He asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then He said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Jesus completely shut them down! They had nothing to say. I do wish I could give answers like that.

But think about it for a minute. We know what belongs to the government. Really, anything that they want. And if you don’t pay it, there is all kinds of penalties and interest placed on you. But what is God’s? What does He want from us? Romans 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship.” So God wants our everything. What does a sacrifice do? It lays on the alter and gives up its everything for its Master. A sacrifice doesn’t worry about anything but being just that, being a sacrifice. Giving its all to the One that has called the sacrifice to be the sacrifice. And Paul says here, “In view of God’s mercy…” God’s mercy. That’s the only reason that we wake up in the morning. The only reason we are able to take a breath. The only reason we are able to love and the reason we should share our faith with others! I heard someone say that the only problem with a living sacrifice is that it can crawl off of the alter. But His mercy takes us right back! Brothers and sisters, if you can find a better deal, you better take it!

Naomi and I love you all.  -Pastor Steve