Tag Archives: fairness

Taxes

File:Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 'Paying the Tax (The Tax Collector)' oil on panel, 1620-1640. USC Fisher Museum of Art.jpg

The Question about Paying Taxes

Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Matthew 22: 15-22

What about taxes Jesus?
Surely you cannot agree with them.

Nobody likes paying taxes,
especially
when there is
a little bit,
or a lot,
added on
by the local collector…

Surely
our money
should be going to God
and not supporting a human ruler?

Surely
should be exempt,
make a stand,
refuse to pay?

What do you say Jesus?
Of course,
if you say we do not need to pay
we can report you
to the authorities,
let them know you are against them,
encouraging others
not to fulfil
their civic responsibility.

Then we would have you
and we would not
need to do it ourselves.

You want a coin?
Well yes,
of course it has the rulers head on,
that is what coins do.

So,
it is his money.
We need to pay our dues,
contribute for what we expect back,
pay our share
of the services we use
and to support those
who cannot pay as much as we can?

And having done that
we can give to God
what is his.

It is not an either-or situation,
it is both.

Giving to God
does not stop us giving what we owe
to society.

Forgive me Lord
when I am looking for excuses
to not share my resources,
to pay as little as possible,
while expecting much in return.

I guess that applies to society
and to you.

Give to me
a willing
and generous heart.

Praising God = Working With Him

Psalm 113 (CEV)

The Lord Helps People in Need

113 Shout praises to the Lord!
Everyone who serves him,
    come and praise his name.

Let the name of the Lord
    be praised now and forever.
From dawn until sunset
    the name of the Lord
    deserves to be praised.
The Lord is far above
    all of the nations;
    he is more glorious
    than the heavens.

No one can compare
    with the Lord our God.
His throne is high above,
    and he looks down to see
    the heavens and the earth.
God lifts the poor and needy
    from dust and ashes,
    and he lets them take part
    in ruling his people.
When a wife has no children,
    he blesses her with some,
and she is happy.
    Shout praises to the Lord!

We might be less than good at helping the needy.  But we find here that God needs them, God uses them, God lifts them.

However joyful this Psalm seems, praising God is not just about being happy and singing lovely songs.  We can’t read it in isolation. It’s not about ignoring what is going on around us.  We praise God as much with our actions.  It is joining with him, working for others, that they are lifted from their despair.

Is that the kind of worship we can take part in?