Death and taxes.
It’s been said that there are the only two certain things in life, and so here we are once again – tax day in the United States of America. This is not a day that most of us look forward to, but as do all days, it is one that holds promise for us. That’s because tax day, like every other day, is the day that the Lord has made. And because it is the day that the Lord has made, we should rejoice and be glad in it.
That’s not to say that we have to agree with every policy of our government. Nor is it to say that we agree with every expenditure our government will use the money we pay in taxes to pay for. This day is, however, a chance for our souls to benefit. Yes, even tax day is an opportunity for discipleship. And though this day might be good for our souls in many ways, I’d suggest three:
1. Tax day is an opportunity to remind ourselves who is really in control.
Perhaps you find yourself right now not agreeing with the current administration on this issue or that one. Perhaps this is not the administration you voted for, and you are simply trying to pass the time until you get to the next election when maybe things will be different. This particular day, the day that happens each year when we in a sense financially pay for the work of the government, is an opportunity to remind yourself, no matter who you voted for, that God holds elections in His hands:
“May the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. He changes the times and seasons; he removes kings and establishes kings” (Daniel 2:20-21).
Who has known the mind of the Lord? And who knows why He has chosen for this administration to lead at this time? But we don’t have to know the why to accept the reality of God’s sovereignty. So today is good for our souls as a reminder that God is ultimately and completely in control.
2. Tax day is an opportunity to practice God-centered submission.
Because God is in control even of things like the highest offices in our land, there is a response in order for us. That response is God-centered submission. It’s important for us to recognize that doing things like submitting to the law of the land and praying for our leaders are not necessarily a function of our general like or dislike of them. Rather, we submit to our governing authorities and do things like pay our taxes honestly and even joyfully because we recognize God’s authority in placing them there. We submit not because of who they are, but because of who God is:
Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).
3. Tax day is an opportunity to repent of materialism.
Jesus told us very clearly that we cannot serve two masters. Furthermore, He told us that the primary competitor to God for mastery of our hearts will be money:
“No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
Tax day is one of those days when we get a pretty clear barometer of where we stand with money. If, for example, we find ourselves zealously seeking after questionable loopholes in order to hand onto more money, or if, for example, we find ourselves enraged at the thought of giving “our money” to the government, then we might need to examine the true source of our anger. It’s not, at least for the Christian, an issue of whether or not the tax system is just or unjust; it is instead an issue of the heart.
We find ourselves today, like every day, with an opportunity to repent again and find the gospel again. We find the chance to align our hearts with the Holy Spirit and to confess our trust in the God of the universe. So don’t miss the opportunity for discipleship as you examine your W2’s.