“He said to them, ‘Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Luke 20:25 NIV
The back story, I meet with a group of guys every Friday. A few years ago, one of them was just stating that he had to pay a lot of taxes that year. I responded with a tidy version of “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”. Those words have officially come back to haunt me. Here is my perspective on the situation.
Received a call from the guy who does our taxes. This year, we owe an obscene amount. We are self-employed, so we do not know how much money we will make from week to week, let alone year to year. We usually qualify for a tax credit for insurance. This year we actually earned slightly above that threshold. That is a good thing. However, the penalty is nearly a $3.00 penalty for every $1.00 over the threshold. This is on top of the normal taxes levied. Think about that for a second, 3 to 1. If you described my reaction to that news as “evangelically ticked” you would be inaccurate. I was pissed.
As I was negotiating with that anger, a thought came to mind: I have had the best start to a year I have had in a while. We have made more than normal in the first quarter, like actually enough to pay the taxes. Then God poured it on. My son sat down next to me with a photo album. He has not done that in a long time. He was looking through pictures of a trip my wife and I were blessed with to Australia. I need to mention that the trip did not cost us anything. It was a reward trip for production.
I started trying to think what year that was and was getting confused. We have qualified nearly every year and have been blessed with trips all over the world–for free. We would never have been able to accomplish this on our own. Straight up blessing. For good measure, I remembered what I wrote about last week, my nephew in prison. He can only travel in his mind. We are free to roam or to stay.
My perspective was duly restored; It reminded me that Caesar can take what he wants. I dislike it, but God must have had a reason to tell us this. What is that reason? I usually feel like it is practice submitting to authority. If I have trouble submitting to a simple governing authority, I’ll never be able to submit to an all-encompassing God. In fact, if I do not submit to that authority, I am rebelling against God. Yep, the Bible says that too (read Romans 13).
The people who asked Jesus the question that day were trying to trap Him in His own words. If He had contradicted Caesar, they would have had grounds to convict–and ultimately kill Jesus and they were actively looking for a reason. No one is trying to convict me–or you – for contradicting our government. But plenty of people are watching. What kind of example am I setting?
Do you recognize opportunities to have your actions match your words?
If you are like me, how many times do you recognize it after the opportunity passes?
Uncommen Challenge: Perspective. God can use literally any person in any situation, even the IRS, to teach me.
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