If we gathered together with 100 people in an auditorium and asked for a show of hands for who is looking forward to paying their federal taxes this year… not many hands would go up. If we further asked who thought the tax money was managed responsibly and spent efficiently… even fewer hands would go up. If we were so bold as to ask who was planning to pay extra because they felt the U.S. federal government was such a good steward of their money… probably not even one hand would remain up. Very few in the U.S.A. actually believe they money they pay is being spent wisely. There is good reason for that… mostly because they are right. The U.S.A. federal government is wasteful and actually downright immoral with the expenditure of much of our hard-earned money. They collect money from people in the states and then threaten not to give it back to the states if they don’t go along with what the federal government wants… whether it is over controlling education or building roads or many other spending programs.
Now… should we do something about it? Yes. Get involved in politics and elections. Vote for smaller federal government and vote against those whose policies and behaviors are offensive to God.
Should we pay our taxes according to the law? Yes. Why? Because Jesus said so. Yes, He actually did comment on paying taxes.
15Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. 16And 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. 17“Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19“Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They 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.” 22And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.
While the question was not intended to be a genuine question about taxes, it was intended to be a trap, Jesus still provides insight into paying taxes. The answer still applies today. Much of what Rome was doing was evil in the sight of the Lord, but Jesus pointed out that the money in question comes from Rome and thus can be used to pay lawful taxes to Rome as the civil governing authority.
Paul also wrote about taxes in Romans 13:1-7.
1Every 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. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Let us not be confused… there are many or perhaps most governments which are not serving God. Many or most are in fact dishonoring God. None the less, there is a certain authority which we are to give to the civil government so long as they do not cause us to disobey God’s commands. God’s authority is always the highest. We can, however, respect and pay taxes to a civil governing authority to the extent they do not require us to disobey or dishonor God.
7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Pay your taxes, but only what is due. There is no requirement to like paying taxes or to pay extra… so do your taxes well and avoid giving more than is due. Then go out to vote for someone who will reduce your tax bill in the future! Even if you want to give money away to help those in need, you can do so in a much smarter way than giving to the inefficient federal government. And when you give to help someone directly, you can give glory and honor to God for the blessing!
Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .