As I was visiting home over the Christmas holidays last year, my little brother (age 10) asked me about taxes……. Taxes!
Imagine my perplexed face.
I don’t know what possessed my brother to ask ME of all people about taxes. But nevertheless, there we were in the middle of a clothing store discussing taxes.
Now, his questions about sales tax and property tax, I handled like a pro. I mean it’s basically how we are able to fund our police departments, fire stations, schools, and public spaces, respectively. Right? I think. LOL. Well, at least that’s how I described it. However, when he began asking about income tax, I was puzzled. Hmmmmm. Never quite understood income taxes myself so how was I supposed to explain the process known as income tax to a 10 year old? Well, ultimately, I did what any other self-respecting person would do—I changed the subject.
In retrospect, if I was to go back in time and try to explain income taxes to my brother in the middle of a clothing store on that cold Christmas Eve afternoon, it would go a little something like this——
You work to get paid money. However, when it is time to get paid, the government actually “withholds” some of the money you earned.
SKKKKKKKRRRRTTTTTT! Wait a minute. People I don’t even know are “withholding” my money? Reminds me of that commercial “It’s my money and I need it now”.
Even during the time of Jesus, there were tax collectors and people were expected to pay taxes. It’s always been something you just have to do. Basically, income taxes is a phenomena in which something can be “yours” but it can be WITHHELD from you.
Wow. Let’s dig a little deeper into this.
There are many instances in the Bible in which WITHHOLDING things are condemned and some other instances where it is commanded. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:4-5, wives and husbands are commanded to not withhold their bodies from each other (unless it is by mutual consent and that time is dedicated to prayer or fasting). Why? Because the body of the wife is not hers— it is her husband’s just as the body of the husband is not his— it is his wife’s. We also are not supposed to withhold affection (2 Corinthians 6:12) or withhold goods from those to whom it is due (Proverbs 3:27).
God grants us free will to make choices and act in ways that WE want. Sometimes, however, that is not in line with what God wants. This is a fact. However, what if we lived our lives in a way in which we withheld nothing from God. I mean, isn’t everything that we are and everything that we have HIS? Just like the money the governments holds on to for us? Isn’t it ours? Don’t we want all of it?
Well what makes us think that God doesn’t want all of us? We are His. Remember, He told us that He formed us in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He knows all the hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). Wow. That’s pretty extraordinary.
- That job you have—use it to glorify God in any way that you can.
- That big house you’re living in or that car you’re driving– use it for the good of the kingdom. It is HIS.
- Those talents that you’ve been sitting on for years (whether it’s the gift of song, writing, dance, nail design, barbering, organization, leadership etc.)— USE IT to praise God’s name to everyone!
WITHHOLD NOTHING….. Absolutely nothing.
There’s a gospel song by William McDowell entitled this exact thing “Withholding Nothing”. The song is powerful. Please listen to it. The lyrics repeat phrases such as “I give myself away”, “I give you all of me”, “I surrender all to you” to a beautiful melody. How eloquently put. It gives me chills as I listen to it now as I type. How wonderful is our God? How wonderful should we be to Him in return? Not just because of what He does for us but because of who He is. THE GREAT I AM. (Exodus 3:14)
Psalm 84:11 reads “no good thing will He [God] withhold from them that walk uprightly”. Psalm 40:11 further states “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me”. Day to day, we want the Lord to give us His best. We want Him to withhold nothing from us when it comes to earthly blessings or even acts such as Grace, Mercy, and Love. We should be withholding nothing as well. Nothing, no one, and no area of our lives should be off limits to God. For, He created it and us all. It is HIS. We are HIS. All HIS! May we always give Him what we owe him and then some. Let us not be like the Federal and State government. (Lol. Just kidding. Dear IRS, please don’t come looking for me after this post.)
May your eyes, your head, and your spirit always BE LIFTED.
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