I finally did my taxes last night – which by the way is an interesting way to account for your year. I entered all the data provided for me by my financial institutions and employers in the nice little boxes. I scowered my online checkbook looking for deductions. Alas, I could not get the red number to turn to green and gave up the fight with a dreadful result:
Yes, I owe. It’s times like this that real challenges can sit in front of you. Paying is of course one of those, but not really the challenge that crossed my mind today. The challenge is how you look at this bill. I am not a big fan of taxes, but I do understand the “give to Caesar what is Caesar” thing. The real question is do I understand the give to the Lord what’s the Lord? I am going to be resentful and frustrated? I am going to be filled with anxiety over this money? Or alternatively, am I going to trust that there is a reason that I will be separated from so many portraits of dead presidents?
Last night, I started out thinking, man, all the things I could do with this money. I could have bought a chaise lounge for my back porch, or I could have padded my bank account, or I could have taken a trip back to West Virginia to see the championship trophy ( oh, that’s right, scratch that one!) But you get my idea and my lament – oh, all the things I could do with that money. But then this morning I stumbled across an underlined verse in my old college Bible – which I have been using quite often lately – from 2 Peter.
19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 2 Peter 2:19
Hm, Money can be a dangerous master. Maybe, its becoming my master? So, that’s the way I am trying to think about this little dent in my check book. Am I a slave to money? Or am I going store up my treasures on spiritual things – like relationships, and contentment and joy.
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 16:19-20
Can we look at things like this that happen to us in life as a gift from God as well? Maybe sometimes, we need to have gentle reminders of what we are slaves to? What has mastered you? What should you give away?