I have been working on taxes. Gathering receipts and putting them in the proper categories for our tax preparer. It has taken an incredible amount of time. Saturday for example, I spent about six hours working on them.
It is a task that can foster resentment. The tedious tracking required by the government to keep more of the money you earn under threat of fines and penalties can feel oppressive. I often think the money I earn and the time I spend preparing the documentation could be put to greater use.
So, I put my opinions and emotions to the test against God’s Word. What do I find? I am commanded to pay taxes. My resentment reveals that my attitude is not right. Googling this heart issue, I find there is a lot that has been written on the topic of paying taxes from a Biblical perspective. I even saw a Bible study. A Bible study!?
Direction can be found in Romans chapter 13.
Rom 13:1-2 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” NKJV
We are subject to governing authorities…
Rom 13:5-7 “Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” NKJV
Taxes are supposed to be used for the benefit of society but how they are used does not change our responsibility for paying them. We are not to concern ourselves with this, but instead make sure we are filing them according to law. That includes taking all the legal deductions we are entitled to. Gotquestions.org made note that when Paul penned the letter to the Romans the emperor was Nero, an evil ruler.1
Before Paul, Jesus addressed taxes. He is quoted as saying “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” in Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, and Luke 20:20-26. During the time of Jesus, the Roman government taxed to pay for its army, roads, courts, temples, and to support the emperor.2
It is not by chance I encounter this issue over taxes. A few days ago, my husband and I were discussing various aspects of God’s Word following our devotions. I stated, “Every situation is a chance to practice God’s Word.” And since making that statement I have become aware of my responses to situations. For example, impatient gestures… shifting my weight from one foot to another, which is a stationary pacing technique while waiting in a slow-moving line.
This resentment over dedicating a Saturday to finishing this chore that has already consumed hours and hours not counted, is a chance to put God’s Word into practice. Knowing what my attitude should be is the first step. Reading through the instructions given is the second. Putting into practice whatever direction is given in Scripture is the third step.
Then when my emotions trigger an ungodly response, I can stop and reverse direction. Walk according to the ways of my Lord.
Contemplate Your Ways:
1—Do you struggle with any negative emotions at tax time? What do you need to put into practice when it comes to submitting to authorities?
2-What situations have you encountered lately that have made you go back to basics and look for the instructional Scriptures? What were the instructional Scriptures?
1-Gotquestions.org, “What does the Bible say about paying taxes?”
2-Learnreligions.com, “What Does the Bible Say About Paying Taxes?” by Mary Fairchild May 16,2018.