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I recently finished my tax return and what a relief!
Funnily enough that coincided with the Gospel reading set for the subsequent Sunday, Matthew 22:15-22.
Those who were always wanting to trap Jesus were trying to trip him up, and they asked ‘Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ As usual Jesus turns the question around, shows them a coin, and says: ‘Whose portrait is this?’
In our present day that would be our Queen, representative of the government. Taxation is necessary. I guess God’s only interest in taxation is – is it fair? who is hurt by it? and who is favoured? And so we pray for politicians of integrity who uphold Godly values.
Well, I have sent in my tax return and I will pay what is necessary. But what of the second part of Jesus’s answer – ‘Give to God what belongs to God’? What does God want from me, from all of us?
Just a little further on in the same chapter we read that the greatest commandment is ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength, and your neighbour as yourself’.
Surely that is the absolute bottom line; love. But our only hope of following that commandment is to first open our hearts to receive God’s love for us, and then anything we give, to God or to people, becomes an inevitable overflow of that perfect, unconditional and totally undeserved heavenly love.
Joyce Watson, Iona