Taxes are one of the two things we can count on with the other being death. Though death levies taxes against the family, taxes do not bring death. Every year, on this day many will celebrate that tax day is over while others pick through the rubble of irresponsibility and find they have nothing left. At its core, the payment of taxes is nothing more than paying for the pleasures and protections we have come to expect from this country. We may not all agree on how those dollars are spent, but it is nonetheless our responsibility under the law. Failure to pay taxes will results in jail time and separation from your family and the world you so enjoy.
The idea of responsibility brings to light other issues as well. In the same way that financial taxes pay for the pleasures and protections of this national relationship, there are “taxes” to be paid in other areas as well.
1. Relational Tax – in every relationship there is a certain level of taxation. Men like to make light of this fact that it all goes to shoes and clothes. However, I would say that this tax is of utmost importance. Relational tax comes in the form of communication, honesty, fidelity, and time. To have the belief that one is not required to pay this is ridiculous. When the Bible says that “the two became one flesh”, it is not speaking solely of the sexual experience. There is so much more to a marriage than sex. The partnership that forms emotionally and mentally is not easily broken. However it can be torn apart through irresponsibility. Maintaining lines of communication through honest reflection and expression is a basic need. Fidelity is a lost art these days but is not lost on the one being cheated on. Time is a cherished commodity because time builds, heals, and cements a relationship.
2. Church Tax – we do not like to think of things this way with God. However, Jesus did say to pay to Caesar what was Caesar’s and pay to God what is God’s. Am I talking about the tithe? Yes I am. For most people, the check you take home has already had taxes withheld for you by the company for which you work. Your taxes are taken “off the top”. Why is God’s taken off the bottom? Write the check on payday and hold it until church time. Go to the church office and pay your tithe if you feel you cannot make it through the weekend. Use online bill pay from your bank which often costs you nothing and your tithe is paid immediately and sent to the church. This is the one area God has said to test Him in.
3. Spiritual Tax – this is the other area we might feel uncomfortable using the word tax. However, if we understand taxes as a responsibility for ourselves and the larger group then a new meaning is brought in. In much the same way as human relationships, spiritual ones have needs. Your relationship with God, which encompasses both pleasure and protection, requires a certain discipline to be maintained correctly. Reading Scripture, praying, worship, service, and righteousness are all disciplines which make up this payment. The benefits begin with you and expand to your family, your work environment, and other friends. The development that occurs within you when you are paid up is monumental.
Now that your national taxes are paid, or at least extended, have you paid the others yet?