This is tax week. Monday, April 18th is tax day, the day most Americans love to hate. The tax burden appears to be too high. The government often wastes taxpayer dollars. Sometimes those dollars are spent on unspeakable acts of immorality and injustice. Some governmental leaders and agencies are corrupt. Often the “will of the people” is ignored or even despised. Protests seem useless. All of these things appear to be a good reason not to pay taxes or at least, be disdainful of the process.
But God has a different perspective. At the time Paul wrote to the Romans about paying taxes Nero was the Emperor. Nero set the standard for corruption and immortality in government. He targeted Christians for persecution, including burning them alive while they hung on crosses. Nero defined what it means to be a despicable leader. Yet, hear what Paul has to say about paying taxes to a government that followed Nero’s whims:
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. —Romans 13:6-7
If ever there were a reason not to pay taxes because of an immoral government, Nero’s reign as Emperor would be the perfect example. However, Paul, fully aware of Nero’s character, teaches you that even Nero served the purposes of God. Paul followed the teaching of Christ to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.
Paying taxes is not an endorsement of the practices of a corrupt or a good government. Paying taxes is not a passive act of submission to evil. Paying taxes is obeying the direction of God. Corrupt governments will fall, often at the hands of the people they torment. It is good to pray for God’s judgment upon corrupt and evil government. It is also a good thing to pay taxes.
This tax day follow the direction of Paul and of Christ. As you pay your taxes also be in prayer that God will bring the healing power of the gospel to our land. Paying more or less in taxes will not solve the problems of our country. Living out the power of the gospel is our hope.