It was Benjamin Franklin who is credited with the often repeated quip, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Today is tax day in the United States. Due to the 15th falling on Saturday and Monday being Emancipation Day, the tax deadline was extended until April 18th this year.
According to statistics about 25 percent of Americans wait until the last week to file. Another 17 million will file an extension. And about 99 percent will complain about taxes.
For a long time, I grumbled and griped about taxes. Once I realized it was part of life, I decided to change my attitude. Consider these 7 reasons why you ought to quit complaining.
(1) Paying taxes honors Jesus’ command to “render unto Caesar.”
When the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” He requested a coin.
“Whose image and inscription is on it?” He asked.
“Caesar’s.” They replied.
Jesus responded, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:15–22).
Sometimes Christians argue that it’s immoral to pay taxes for purposes that we disagree with. Do you suppose Rome engaged in any practices that Jesus condemned? Nevertheless, He admonished them to pay their taxes. When we pay what we owe, we honor Jesus’ command.
(2) Paying taxes fulfills my duty to obey the law.
The Bible teaches that we’re subject to the governing authorities. In fact, they exist because God ordained them. “You must also pay your taxes. The authorities are God’s servants, and it is their duty to take care of these matters. Pay all that you owe, whether it is taxes and fees or respect and honor” (Rom 13:1–7).
Christians are not to be law breakers, but law abiding citizens.
(3) Paying taxes is a way to help the less fortunate.
While we all decry government waste, fraud, and welfare cheats, the fact is some of our money provides assistance for those who genuinely depend upon it for survival. Paying taxes is one way we “give to those who have need” (Eph 4:28).
The late Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Homes once said, “I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
(4) Paying taxes demonstrates my honesty and integrity.
Christians are to be honest and honorable in all of our business and financial dealings (Prov 3:9; Rom 12:17; Prov 13:11). Tax evasion is not only illegal, it is sinful. Indeed “the righteous man walks in his integrity” with regard to fulfilling his fiscal responsibilities, including paying taxes.
(5) Paying taxes means that I earned income.
If you owe taxes, be thankful you earned enough money to be taxed. Many people who don’t pay taxes based on our tax code are living in poverty. If your tax bill is larger this year, that probably means you are more successful financially. Be thankful for your material blessings.
(6) Paying taxes represents responsible stewardship.
There was a time in my life when April 15th rolled around that I didn’t have the money to pay my taxes. Why? Because I failed to pay quarterly. In truth, I was a poor steward of my money. The command to “owe no man anything” (Rom 13:8) involves all debts and bills, including the government.
(7) Grumbling is opposed to the attitude of Christ.
The Bible commands us to “do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Phil 2:14). Old Testament Israel was condemned for their constant complaining against God’s provisions. Using them as a negative example, Paul warned that we should not be grumblers and murmurers (1 Cor 10:10). “All things” would include paying taxes.
While we all would like lower taxes, a balanced budget, and a federal government that lives within its means, these are things out of our control. What we can control is our attitude. Our honor. Our integrity.
In a sin darkened world, let’s be a shining light. Even as we pay our taxes.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman