Americans, like myself, live in a free country. We have the right to choose where we live, how we play, and what to do to earn money.
• We can choose to put our children in public or private schools
• We can leave the boarders of our state anytime we want
• We have the right to purchase a piece of land and build a home on it
With freedom comes responsibility and the need for an organized and just government. Over the past few decades our system has become unbalanced, with about 47% of Americans paying nothing into the income tax system – some even getting money from the government in the way of refundable credits like the EIC (Earned Income Credit).
Interestingly, the Tax Foundation and IRS revealed statistics that shows the Top 1 percent of earners paid 38 percent of federal income taxes. In fact, if you examine the Top 10 percent of earners you will find they paid 70 percent of all income taxes and the bottom 50 percent only paid 3 percent of income tax revenue that flowed into our government.
And it’s only going to get worse with the most recent changes in tax law.
The spiritual question about taxes
Our government’s income tax system is off-balance and in need of a great overhaul. So the question is: In the current state of unfairness, with the government being the strong-arm stealing from the rich to give to the poor, is it Biblical to pay income taxes today?
The question of paying taxes is older than Jesus
This is not a new question. The Pharisees, by way of spies, asked this question of Jesus (Luke [20:21]-22). They said “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” They were hoping to trip him up and get Jesus to say something that was against Caesar, thus ensnaring him into speaking against the government, or saying something against his own teachings about God, making everyone question Jesus’s true message and teachings.
An unjust level to taxation
The tax system back in those days was out of control. Similar to the fairy tales we have heard in our childhood years, tax collectors were able to lower or raise the amount of taxes collected at their whim. They were allowed to keep a portion of what they collected and do what they pleased with it.
This is not much different today except that we the people vote the tax collectors into office to set policy. We are sold the promise of a better America if we simply vote them into office, which is the ultimate payoff for politicians today, right?
What Jesus has to say about paying taxes
Of course, Jesus in all his wisdom and knowledge, answered the Pharisee’s tricky question in a way that was honest, true, and just. Jesus said “Why do you test Me? Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered “Caesar’s“. Then Jesus said to them “Render therefore to Caesar’s what is Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
The good news about an unfair tax system
As unfair as our current system of taxation is, it is Biblical to pay our taxes. It is also moral.
The good news is we also reserve the right to vote into office the very people who can correct the system, the ultimate power that can fix the inequality.
My change of heart
I pray you don’t have the heart that I used to have. Many believe the rich should pay their fair share and support the less fortunate. They do in may ways:
• Starting businesses that employ people of all ages, races, and creeds
• Giving generously to charities
• Creating new inventions that make our lives better
I changed my tune when I realized that I wasn’t paying as much in taxes and that my giving wasn’t even remotely close to the amount of money that millionaires did. Do I celebrate their amount of taxation and, at the same time, bemoan someone else’s generosity? Who gives to charities or a new wing for a hospital or a 165-acre ranch that rehabilitates neglected and mistreated large animals? I should, instead, endeavor to become more like them.
While I don’t want to pay a bunch of my money in taxes I do see the benefit of the other side: That I have earned a lot of money and the remainder has been entrusted to me to do God’s will and take care of my family.
That is Biblical.