Today’s communion and offering meditations. Written by Yours Truly.
Today is April 15th – the traditional day when taxes are due. We have a couple extra days this year. One is because the 15th falls on a Sunday, and one is because Monday is a holiday in Washington, DC. The delays don’t change the fact that taxes are due soon.
And we have to pay them. This story comes from Matthew 22:15-22:
Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.
Jesus supports paying taxes to earthly authorities. It’s not necessarily that He loves the IRS – it’s that He loves God the Father. Romans 13:1 and 5-7 says
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Did you notice how Paul tied right in with what Jesus said? Give honor to whom honor is due. Jesus said to render to God the things that are God’s. And that’s why we are here, at this time of the service. Jesus also said “Do this in remembrance of Me”. It is due to Him.
All who have accepted Jesus’ call to give up their own interests and follow Him are invited to partake in communion. Let’s pray.
For this offering meditation, I had been planning to talk about the new series that Jeff is starting today, Not a Fan. As he mentioned last week, there is a difference between a fan, someone who hangs around for the benefits they hope to get, and a follower, who is devoted.
I was going to make a joke and that those are both positive, in favor of whatever you’re discussing, but that there is also a negative side to not being a fan, where you are against the thing. And when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service, I am (hold up book) Not a Fan.
Then God started feeding more thoughts into my head. I am supposed to pay my taxes, according to God. And Colossians 3:23 says that “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord”. And Second Corinthians 9:7 says “The Lord loves a cheerful giver”.
The only conclusion I can draw is that I should be cheerful about paying my taxes. And that was a change for me. I’m still processing what it means.
Thankfully, we are at the time of offering, when we give back to God a portion of what He has blessed us with. First Corinthians 11:12 says “it all comes from Him”, and He does want us to be cheerful givers. For me, giving offering is easier than paying taxes.