Taxes and Dues
Christopher B. Harbin
Exodus 33:12-23; Ps 99:1-9; Matt 22:15-22; 1Thess 1:1-10
We don't want to give to Cesar. That is the problem, isn't it? Rather, taxes seem to be for nothing more than to take away the rewards of our labor and keep us in financial straits. What happens with the taxes we pay, anyway? Politicians use them to concentrate more power in the hands of those who already have power and wealth. As we say in Brasil, the rigor of the law against its enemies, and the blessings of the law on its friends.
Taxes don't sit well with us. We see them as poorly administered to support the education of those who need educational help. They are poorly used to help the greater portion of the population. Only poorly do we see investments in public health and infrastructure. Those who have political power are those who want power and control over others. Power corrupts, and those who seek it don't need any further corrupting!
Maybe it's better to keep what is mine and not let the government know what I have. It must be better to work and even pay others off the books, far from the peering eyes of the government. That way I keep more for myself and my plans in life.
What has the government done to make me believe it has my best interests at heart? When has the government battled on my behalf? Roads seem paved only under pressure. In the process of public works, millions are wasted with nothing to show for them. Traffic tickets are prosecuted at great cost, but millionaire thieves walk away free.
If we are tempted to think or act along these lines, just imagine the Jews in Jesus' day! The ruling government wasn't even theirs. It was an invading foreign power that occupied their land. They lived under oppression at the hands of enemy armies who had the freedom to force any Jew to carry their packs for a mile without complaint. Their standard form of investigation used whips and beatings for minimal concerns. The nation ...
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