On FaithSpring is in the air. And you know what that means: it’s tax season.
By: Pastor Scott Nelson, Lake County News Chronicle
Spring is in the air. And you know what that means: it’s tax season.
As you go through the annual ritual of pouring over receipts and filling out forms, are you tempted to grumble? I know I can be. There are times I am very frustrated with our government. And how much more so in an election year? All the ads and articles talking about people running for office (many of whom I do not think I would trust to watch my wallet for 10 minutes, much less to tell me how to live) frustrate me. And so, it is easy to become cynical about our government. But as believers, what should our attitude be concerning those in authority over us?
The Bible addresses this quite a number of times. Jesus was asked in Luke 20:20-25: “It is right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” This was a tough question in that day because Rome was quite immoral by this time, and many of those who followed Jesus believed it was not right to pay taxes to their Roman overlords. If Jesus said they should pay taxes, he risked losing his following. On the other hand, if he said that the people should not pay taxes, he risked offending the Roman officials and getting arrested.
How did the Lord answer? He turned it into a teaching moment and said, “Show me a denarius [a Roman coin]. Whose portrait is on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
He said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
So how should we respond to those in authority over us? Give them the respect they deserve, for God put them in their positions (see Romans 13:1-7).
A second passage concerning how we ought to respond those in government is found in I Peter 2:13-15 where he says: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”
Peter tells us to submit to governing authorities — but this is the same Peter who stood up to the authorities in Acts 4 when they are told not to preach the gospel about Jesus any longer.
There he says in verses 19-20, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” So it is normative for Christian believers to obey the government’s laws, unless they overstep their bounds and go against the commands of God.
Finally, in I Timothy 2:1-4, Paul urges us to pray for those in authority over us. Why? So “that we may all live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” So even if you disagree with our elected officials, pray for them to come to know Jesus.
So, how should we respond to our government? We are called to pay our taxes, to submit to the authorities God placed over us, and to pray for them, even when we might disagree with them.
Why? “This is good and pleases God our Savior” (I Timothy 2:3).
Pay your taxes with a smile, knowing that God is pleased with you.
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