Recently I was talking to someone about what we wanted to study next in Bible study. Our last study had us looking at the devastations and disappointments of our lives, the big things that have changed us. My friend thought it would be nice to do a Bible study that looked at how to live a Christian life everyday, what should our every day, ordinary lives look like. Life is mostly about the road between the peaks and valleys. Now we just have to find a study that delves into the ordinary.
So today as I was bombarded with last minute tax advise everywhere I looked, I thought about the things we do that are evidence of our faith but do not look different to the rest of the world. For example, we pay our taxes. And honestly I pay them cheerfully. I really don't mind rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's. (Matt. 22:21) I like my roads, my libraries, my schools. I like knowing the fire department is a 911 call away. I don't mind "sharing my wealth" because honestly it is not my wealth, and even if it was, there is no long term value in money. It is just money.
Because I don't mind paying my share and we believe it is important to be honest in both word and intention, we are also very honest on our taxes. We report all our income. We pay over the table even if it costs us a little more. We are conservative on our goodwill donation value estimates. We keep our receipts and don't try to "find" more tax breaks. Though we do enjoy the many deductions we do get to take that make our tax burden lighter. What I am trying to say is that we follow the law. At least as best we understand it and since we don't really understand it we have used the same trusted tax program for years because the people who write that program know their tax law.
Many people are ethical and honest on their taxes. It is sort of like those weird SAT questions. Ethical people follow the law. Christians follow the law. Therefore ethical people are all Christians? Obviously not. And not all Christians unfortunately are ethical. But in this one instance, on tax day. I would say that we are living out the convictions of our faith, our understanding of who God is, and His teachings on honesty and government and taxes. We trust that God is in control of our lives and that his precepts, his teachings, are for our benefit. We also trust that God is our ultimate provider. I don't need to cheat. Because it is not the money we "save" that provides for our needs. It is God that provides for our needs. Money is just one way He might do that.
Today is Tax Day. Just another opportunity for people of faith to put their trust in God, not money, and do the right thing. Seems simple, ordinary and not really inspiring at all. But that is every day life. The small decisions are where you find a person's true depth of faith. What is that saying, in a foxhole everyone is a believer? But at your computer, where no one is watching you give a value to that pair of shoes you gave to Goodwill, so much easier to waffle in your integrity there.