Let's talk about taxes

Should we pay our taxes? No one likes paying taxes. Taxes don't give you food, or put a car in your garage, do they? (Or do they?)

The trouble is, most of us feel gyped when we pay our taxes. We feel that we are paying more than our fair share. Taxes reduce the amount on our paycheque. Taxes increase the marked price of goods and services we purchase. Taxes can be unexpected, and even when we do expect them, we see them reducing how much we have to spend.

Even Jesus found a certain tax unfair. How did he handle it? Let's turn to the Bible and see:1

After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

"Yes, he does," he replied.

When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes - from their own sons or from others?"

"From others," Peter answered.

"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

Though Jesus did not like paying this tax, he paid it for himself and Peter, too. And the means by which he paid the tax required a miracle.

So what does this tell us?

We often spend time complaining about taxes, how we're strapped for cash, and the tax burden is so-o-o unfair. But here we read that the Lord is concerned about our tax burden. Even to the point of using the seemingly miraculous to help us pay them.

Another incident underlines this teaching.2 The Pharisees came to Jesus to try to trap him in a trick question. They asked him if it was lawful to pay taxes.

Jesus, inspecting a particular coin, asked whose image was on the coin. When they answered, "Caesar's," Jesus said, "Then pay to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

So next time you feel burdened by taxes, take it to the Lord who cares for every aspect of our lives. Let him provide what you do not have, so that you can pay what you ought. Or at the least, let him stretch what you have to meet your needs

And by the way, when was the last time you paid your dues to the Lord: your tithes and offerings? (God can help you pay those, too.)


1 Matthew 17: 24-27, taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. (c) 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society.

2 Mark 12:13 - 17; also found in Matthew and Luke.

Script copyright © Rick Galbraith, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: 1996, 2001