This is a week which has loomed large each year since 1955, when Congress moved the filing deadline for tax returns to its current date. April 15 holds a prominent place on our calendars, but this day is not always the highlight of our year. The conscientious among us filed their taxes months ago and think nothing of this week. But for the procrastinators in our midst, this week promises late nights, scores of Google searches, and more than a few “can you believe…” questions to our husbands and wives.
But “all things were created for [Jesus]…that in everything he might be preeminent” (Colossians 1:16, 18). This “everything” includes our money, and the IRS, and Tax Week, which means that even this week exists to make Jesus look glorious.
So here are seven reasons to love Tax Week, for His glory and our great joy:
- We’re reminded to render to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar and to God what belongs to God. Proverbs 3:9 tells us to “honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce,” so paying our taxes reminds us we should be giving to God first. But Jesus would have us consider a more important question—what belongs to God that we should render unto Him? When we realize the answer is “everything,” we can then see that submitting a portion of our income to our government reminds us to submit all we have, and all we are, to our King.
- We’re reminded that God places rules and authorities over us for our good. Paul instructs us in this way: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God…therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God” (Romans 13:1, 5-6). So when we pay taxes, we acknowledge God’s ultimate authority over all things.
- We’re reminded that the government blesses generosity—but God blesses it more. “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). The government doesn’t tax the money we give away, so we end up getting a return on our charity. But God’s return, whether material or spiritual in nature, is far greater—packed tightly, running over, with liberal abundance, echoing His dispensation of grace to His beloved children.
- We’re reminded that integrity pays dividends. God tells us that “wealth gained by fraud will dwindle” (Proverbs 13:11), and “whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household” (Proverbs 15:27). Most of us have the opportunity to cheat on our taxes. We may not be involved in a large, devious scheme; we may just find the chance to not report some income or overstate some deduction. But what price will we place on our integrity? The way that is right before God is the way that will bear the most fruit.
- We’re reminded that money is the smallest of things. Jesus tells us: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…if then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11). As disciples of Jesus, our desire is for the true riches of heaven, and we recognize two things about our money: our money itself is temporal in nature, but our use of it has eternal consequences.
- We’re reminded of where our treasure is. We know Jesus’ words: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). But we may find ourselves forgetting this truth at tax time, when owing additional money can be cause for anxiousness and getting a refund can be cause for unhealthy celebration. We do well to imitate Paul’s heart of contentment when he says: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound…I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13). Whether facing the temptation to not trust God to provide in a time of need or to not depend on God in a time of abundance, Christ alone is our strength.
- We’re reminded that Jesus loves tax collectors. “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). Let’s be honest—we’ve all thought at some point that the IRS is a group of heartless mercenaries bent on sapping the country dry of its money. But Jesus called Matthew from his tax booth, and He went into the home of a notorious tax collector, Zacchaeus, bringing salvation with Him. If Jesus loves tax collectors, we should as well.
So Tax Week is fruitful for remembering. Instead of spending our week as reluctant tax-paying malcontents, let us embrace this time as an opportunity to demonstrate the sufficient worth and all-satisfying treasure that Jesus is to us, and in doing so, we will reflect back the glory of His preeminence over all things.