It is tax season and the Bible has a lot to say about the Christian attitude toward taxes. Jesus said to the citizens of His day under pagan Roman rule, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Luke 20:25
One of the major issues on the political agenda today is how much control should the government have in the affairs of the American people. One of the fears of the American people today is too much government interference in the personal affairs of the public. Several years ago, Bill Gates, chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft, Inc. was subpoenaed by the government in an attempt to stop his monopolization and to control his self-made billion-dollar empire.
Also, in the government’s attempt to revitalize the communities, reconstruct housing in desolate areas, rebuild our failing education system, reform wealth and health plans, rehabilitate our criminals and drug addicts, feed the poor, etc., we must understand that all of the efforts will inevitably require more taxes and possibly restrict and regulate religious freedoms.
The more people (especially Christians) that depend on the government or this world’s economic system, the greater the control. So what we call government improvement means personal detriment. The problem is if you have a government that does not acknowledge or fear God, the regulatory and compliance laws to these needy recipients can slowly edge their faith or God out.
Yet Jesus gives us the command, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” To render means to fulfill one’s duty to someone; to give what is due; to give back, re-compensate, and restore. An earth state provides the welfare of its citizens who are obligated to support the government. But the citizens of God’s kingdom also owe allegiance to Him. In other words, we are only supposed to give Caesar what is due, not anything more. This is why a good tax accountant or strategist is important. As Christians, we have to honor God with our substance (Proverbs 3). Therefore when we pay taxes, good stewardship is required so that we give to the Lord’s work also. God’s money does not belong in Caesar’s pockets. According to Deuteronomy 26:12-19, the tithe (10% of your money earnings) is holy and set apart for the Lord. Also, we are admonished by the Apostle Paul to give offerings to support ministry (II Corinthians 8:1-7). We are also encouraged in scripture to give to the poor and the needy. None of this can be done with God’s money in Caesar’s pockets. So what can we begin to do to keep God’s money out of Caesar’s pockets? Here are some tips:
1) Make sure you are giving your employer an honest day’s work (Ephesians 4:28). Work to make a giving, not just a living. Your attitude toward work affects your ability to increase your salary and resources. (Ecclesiastes 5:19).
2) If employed, see your Human Resources Department and make sure you are claiming the proper exemptions.
Sometimes you are getting an excess amount of taxes taken out early and you could be investing that money to increase your ability to give.
3) If a business owner or self-employed, sit down with someone who knows how to find the maximum deductions available to you.
As clergy, you have many tax benefits like housing allowances and FICA exemptions if you qualify. This will help you keep God’s money out of Caesar’s pockets.
4) Be a tither!
Don’t be a God robber. Whenever you give or render to God what is God’s and take care of his kingdom, He will take care of yours (Matthew 6:33; Malachi 3:8-12)
If you follow these simple instructions, they will help you maintain a proper balance between what monies to render to Caesar (the government) and what to render to God’s kingdom work. Most of all, you will be keeping God’s money out of Caesar’s pockets.