March 15, 2010

Pay What You Owe

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:7-8)
I find it funny that taxes are mentioned as often as they are in the Bible. Because really, I just don't think about them much throughout the year, except for when it comes time for me to do my taxes. I mean, I live in the city with the highest sales tax in the country--I try not to think about that. :)
But taxes are mentioned throughout the Bible. And I love that, because it's just another example of how God's word speaks to us and is relevant for today. Because really, who likes doing taxes? Sure, if you're getting a lot of money back you're probably a little excited about it, but act of doing your taxes... bleah.
And I know that some people don't like doing taxes, they don't want to pay "the man," so some actually don't. They refuse to put their money into the government. Or conversely they set themselves up to get more money deducted from each check, in order to get a huge "payout" come tax time. Now, the first one I mentioned is actually illegal. The second one is in my opinion an attempt to "work the system" that results in giving the government an interest-free loan of your money. If you put that extra money into a savings account every two weeks, you'd actually have more money in there come tax time.
But that is slightly besides the point. The point is that God doesn't want us "working the system" in any way. If you owe taxes, pay them. It's just as simple as that. We are called to be responsible stewards, and part of that is taking care of our crops. I believe in today's world our "crops" are often our bank accounts. We tend them, pour ourselves into them, and watch eagerly to see what comes forth after we have sown seed into them.
So part of our responsibility to God is to be our own accountant, to be able to give an account for ourselves, and to make things right if we are off-balance with the decrees of the government. Because, as you read further, our only debt is to be the debt of love. We will never "catch up" to our quota on loving others. But we can catch up on our rent, our bills, and yes, our taxes.
So make sure you give a good account of yourself this year. Pay what you owe, and then it will be easier to sow love into the world. Because there's a lot less stress in a debt-free life, and you will be free to exercise your giftings.
It's all a matter of being right with the world in every way.

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