Taxes have been causing trouble since the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. For this week’s Monday Minute, Jennifer explores how we can Rise Up when taxes try to knock us down.
When Caesar Gets His Share
by Jennifer Wake
“Mom, someone stole my money. I worked 40 hours and I only got paid $320.00. They said they were paying me $10.25/hour.”
“Yes, Caesar took your money,” I replied.
“Who is Caesar and why does he get part of my MONEY?”
Explaining taxes to a first time employee can be challenging.
There are federal income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, state income tax as well as other withholdings. Social Security and Medicare are listed under FICA. My teenager did not approve of the federal government taking his money, let alone the state getting its share as well.
We talked about how the taxes are used to help people. I brought up the discussion in Matthew between Jesus and the Pharisees about paying taxes.
“Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this? They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
Trying to trap the Son of God is always going to backfire, yet the Pharisees kept at it. They wanted him to say whether he would pay taxes or not. Instead he turned it around on them. Give Caesar what is his and give to God what is God’s. Jesus wants us to pay taxes, yet more importantly he wants us to give our lives to God and serve God.
Christian, Military, Taxpayer
As a military family, we pay taxes to the government and the government pays us from those taxes. We need to pay taxes to keep this country running, yet we also need to look at where we focus our hearts.
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
We need to be careful to keep God’s priorities in mind. Are we worried about the amount of money we earn? Or about the amount of taxes taken from that money? If we are focused on either of those, we are not focusing on God. He wants us to follow Him. We need to ask how we can serve him.
As we approach retirement, God has been correcting me yet again about how to “give to Caesar”. When my husband and I discuss where to live in retirement, I have been focused on states that don’t tax military retirement pay. God reminded me he is in control. He wants us to serve where he wants us. Not based on taxes but on his calling. I continually work on my worry and my focus on not overpaying taxes. However, Jesus calls me to give the government, federal, state or local, their taxes to follow his teaching. I may or may not be aware of, understand, or approve of the way the government uses my tax dollars, but nevertheless God calls me to pay taxes to Caesar, the government.
God’s Upward Call
God is calling me to rise up over my fears and dislike of paying taxes and serve others in my community through my work and by paying taxes to the government. You can find ways to serve God through your church or through a nonprofit charity. Serving others helps the one you serve and you. The more I focus on blessing others, the more I realize how God has blessed me.
Rise Up to Give to Caesar
Remember Taxes are part of the world we live in, however Jesus wants us to follow God rather than worry about taxes.
Submit Submit your worry and your stress to the Lord. Seek him and rest where he wants you to serve.
Pray When things like taxes don’t seem fair stop and pray. Look at where God wants you to focus and follow him.
Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for focusing on avoiding taxes rather than where you want me to serve. Please remind me to serve where you have called me and where you place me. Lord, I lift up to you all the federal, state, and local officials. Please guide them as they use the money from each paycheck. Amen.
If you are looking for ways to serve Christian, military women in your community and around the world, consider volunteering with Planting Roots.