And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” Mark 12:14-15
I wish we had a choice to pay or not pay taxes. But, alas, we don’t. I seem to recall an ever-present comment regarding death and taxes, and the consistency in both. In reading this story, we find taxes have been a financial ‘donation’ throughout the ages. Wars, riots, and general uprisings have been fueled by populations feeling oppression brought about by taxes. But, this question asked of Jesus is still being asked today. And not only about taxes, but which ‘way’ people lean on the political spectrum r.
The way Jesus handled the question was spectacular! So often, we enter into discussions we believe to have only one of two answers. To our thinking, they exist in black and white. It’s so refreshing to see Jesus constantly and consistently demonstrate a previously unconsidered way. What if we tried our best to mimic his actions regarding these sorts of questions? How many disagreements or relational losses would we suffer if our approach was in the way of Jesus?
To the question posed in the title, I was going to say you should vote for my party because we always have the best food and drink – my wife is an amazing cook! All humor aside, I understand the impetus behind this question in this context was mostly rhetorical. Nevertheless, the season we live in today will eventually call for us to choose. Unlike our American forefathers who determined to separate from our ‘overseers’, we have a viable means to choose who represents us within a governmental framework that has withstood many wars and upheavals in the past. As the time approaches to figure out our taxes and choose our political representation, thank Jesus for the blessings we’ve received through our taxes (Yes, I believe we have!) as well as elected officials.
By Rich Obrecht