“You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at the house of God.” (Ezra 7:24)
Exempting religious bodies from taxes is a government tradition with a long history. It is a way by which government honors religious bodies and the good work they do. It is not a God-given right churches should demand from the state.
Religious institutions should always be careful to avoid any actions which tie them to the state for support. Churches have a purpose for providing worship for its members, and for the members to work in the communities that they reside in, to be accountable to the needs of those people in need in their community and seek to fulfill their needs; whether it be food, clothing, housing, etc.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, by Your Holy Spirit we are reminded that we as a church for Jesus Christ, are strive to meet our community’s needs, whatever they may be. We are to accept them into our church, as they are, and be welcoming to all. As Your church, we are reminded to always strive to meet the needs of those in need and that means, whether they worship in our church or not. Certainly we want them to come, but it is not a requirement for their needs do be met. It is in Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Hope is putting faith to work, when doubt would make it easier.”
“Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, ‘Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?’ But Jesus knew their hypocrisy, ‘Why are you trying to trap me?’ he asked. ‘Bring me a denarius and let me look at I.’ They brought the coin, and he asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s ‘ they replied. Then Jesus said to them. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’ And they were amazed him. (Mark 12:13-17)
Religious devotion and stewardship to God does not excuse us from responsibilities to civil government. The scribes intended trap for Jesus backfired! They wanted a reason to keep their money and not support a government they disliked. Jesus said they must give government what was due the government for services rendered. Government loyalty must not exceed or control loyalty to God, but loyalty to God does not eliminate loyalty and responsibility to country.
“And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had worshiped the dragon and given authority to be beast! Who can make war against him? The beast was given a mouth to enter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nations. All inhabitants of he earth will worship the beast—-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging the the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. (Revelations13:1-10)
Political powers may blasphemously usurp power over governments. In so doing they oppose God and will eventually submit to His authority. Political power is not sufficient reason for a person to be worshiped. Patient endurance may be the followers of Jesus Christ the only course of action when government authorities exercised beastly power under Satan’s control.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you paid no attention to men, because you paid no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? It right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, ‘You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Sow me the coin used for paying the tax,’ They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, ‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription? ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied’. Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. ‘When they heard this, they were amazed. So they let him and went away.” (Matthew22:15–22)
The response was as in was in Mark 12, give to Caesar what is his and to God was is his. Those that had plotted to trap Jesus had once again failed, and Jesus’ response left them with no where to go, and they silently turned and walked off.
Jesus knew before they ever asked their question, because He saw their hearts and what they were going to try to trap Him. The Jews were used to paying their taxes and also paying through offerings to God, so it was easier for them, than it was for the Gentiles. The difference was their was no need for a sin offering, for we could go to the priest or in prayer confess our sins and find forgiveness, as long as we truly gave to Him with penitent hearts, and honestly sought His forgiveness.