Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tax Time

"This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another" (Romans 13:6-8a).

It is about halfway through tax season so probably if you have simple forms you have long ago filed your taxes, gotten your refund and maybe spent it already. Those were the good old days. Our taxes became complicated when we started the sheep business. Shortly after the first of January I began to gather all the past year's paperwork together in a box, making room for the new year's receipts. I sort, make lists, and add numbers together so we will be ready for a tax appointment with a professional.

It becomes a time to reflect on the activity of the past year and evaluate how we spent our money. It is a time to consider the new year's budget and what changes need to be made. For us, 2015 was the final year for the sheep business. That was a big change for our budget.

The scripture in Romans gave me a lot to think about. I'm not sure I've ever contemplated those verses before. It provides a new perspective on debt that I haven't considered. Only the debt to love one another is ongoing,  never fully repaid. Wow, that's powerful. It also makes me wonder how much I owe others in respect and honor. I'm sure the tally is longer than I would like to admit. It also makes me sad that the government servants in America seem to fall so short of being "God's servants". Prayer for them is definitely needed.

"Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Matthew 22:17-21 NIV).

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