Death and Taxes

Tax day looms just around the corner. This year your federal tax returns need to be post marked filed no later than April 17, 2012. It seems taxes have always been part of the cost on planet earth. Years ago, Benjamin Franklin in a letter to a friend in France during those revolutionary years wrote:

“The only things certain in life are death and taxes.”

 

I must confess from my experience of the human condition, Franklin nailed it. Another thing I have discovered about taxes is not only are they certain but they are confusing. In fact Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant men who ever lived, stated:

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”

 

Speaking of confusing taxes, I love this quote attributed to the Farmer’s Almanac:

If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation.”

 I must admit this fact is one of the great reasons for being a Texan. Our legislature only meets every other year. Can you imagine how much better life would be if Congress only met every other year, or better once every four or six years!

One day a gang of Jesus’ critics surrounded him and tried to trap him with a tax question. Being there would be no loop hole for Jesus to escape through they posed the question:

 “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

This was a loaded question. The Romans held the Jews under their thumb by the use of force and intimidation. Many Jews dreamed of being free from Roman oppression and believed paying taxes to Caesar as unpatriotic and wrong. On the other hand, to open oppose paying tribute to Caesar would quickly place Jesus on the hit list for the Roman legends.

Seeing their trap, and realizing the high stakes, Jesus asked for a Roman coin. As He held it in his hand he quizzed the critics saying: “Whose image is this?”

The critic replied “Caesar’s” and almost before the words slipped past their lips Jesus retorted:

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

 His answer silenced the critics with amazement. In one simple statement Jesus communicated the profound truth that the stamp of Caesar (or George Washington) rests on our currency, but the stamp God rests on our faces and on our hearts since we are all created in the image of God. During this tax season be sure to pay your taxes, but every day make it a point to render to God what is His—your very life.

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