Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Money & Taxes... sigh

"Jesus provided tax money for Peter through a fish"
Prismacolor Markers on Marker Paper

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
First the good news : )  I heard on the News that people along the New Jersey and New York shores are rebuilding their homes now.  Home Depot (major hardware store) is hiring many new employees and contractors are eagerly finding work.  Construction has been hit hard in the last few years.  Thanks be to God!

This is probably my least favorite thing to think about of all.  It's been in the news since our President was re-elected.  Just the word "taxes" hits a nerve for me.  You see New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the United States.  Our township's taxes are higher than our mortgage payments.  We live in a townhouse development with about 20 feet of land.  Something doesn't make sense here.  The majority of the money goes to the schools.  Are they passing out laptops?  Can the kids even read when they graduate?  Where's the accountability?  There are over 2 million people in our county...  Oy!  That's a lot of tax money.

Our taxes in the USA were changed 4 years ago.  The middle class was to take the bulk of the taxes while the rich created new jobs.  Evidently, the new jobs didn't happen.  Several people had to leave NJ, because of the property taxes and unemployment.  You could drive down the streets and see "For Sale" signs on about a third of the homes.

To top it all off, the President wants more money to spend...  Is there any sanity left?  Yes there is.  It's in the Bible.  God has given us some guidelines to help us through this crazy life on earth.  I need to read through them every once in awhile just to find some solid ground.

These verses remind me to never let money become the most important thing in my life.  Focus on the Lord, my work, the needs of others, and the rest falls into place.

I love this story.  Ok, I illustrated it above.
25 When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?”
26 “From others,” Peter answered.
“Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
Matthew 17:25-26
Jesus' attitude toward taxes is cool.  He cares more for the tax collectors than the money.  Pretty typical of Him to always care more about people, than their dollar value.

Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
Mark 12:7
It's a bit sticky with this verse because we live in a democracy where we are asked to speak our minds.  My thoughts go to, "Yeah but..."  I have to ask myself, "What is God's?"  My heart, my soul, the earth, everything in it.  He doesn't control our money that is man made.  Even the thought of a world bank is frightening to me, the nations are so different.  One falls all the nations fall, doesn't sound like a good plan to me.  God wants me to give to Him what is His, and let the rest go.

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
1 Thess. 4:11
Isn't this a great verse?  Stay out of the trouble that doesn't have eternal value.  I really like the part "working with your hands."  I dreamed of doing that for years while I was in business.  Yet, our country does provide a forum for us to communicate with our Representatives.  Perhaps being polite and factual is the right way to go.  We sometimes get so caught up in politics, we forget to look after the needs of those in government.  Prayer is a very powerful gift that God has given us.  We must remember to pray humbly and accept that God knows how to fix things.  Even lawmakers need His love.

Here's "A Day to Pray (link)" sign up sheet for Sunday, January 20, 2013.  This was put together by Governor Mike Huckabee, who was also a Pastor for several years.  He is challenging us to put aside our differences and simply pray for the government.  No democrats or republicans, just us before the Lord praying for our government leaders.

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
Prov 6:6-8
This verse inspires me to save money, and canned food.  I actually decided getting out to shoot photos is best in the spring, summer and fall.  Painting and writing stories is best in winter when the trees are dry branches.  God wants us to use our heads to seize the day.

"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law--justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
Matt 23:23
In most Churches tithing 10% of our income is the standard.  Jesus didn't want us to become proud of our tithes and offerings.  Justice, mercy and faith are more important than man's money.  I wonder if God ever shakes His head and says, "Oy!  I hope they get it right."  Guess that's why Jesus came.  We do get caught up in "More, more, MORE!"  We need a Savior.  I still don't follow the prosperity doctrine's thinking.  There's no place in the Bible that it says we should make demands of God.  He seeks the humble hearts, not the arrogant.  I may be missing something...

For the Scripture says, "You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!"
1 Tim. 5:18
This verse touches my heart.  We are a nation of hardworking people.  Years ago oxen would tread on grain for bread.  It means a lot to me that God would consider animals in our work.  If the oxen were muzzled they just walked around in circles all day desiring to eat the grain.  This could lead to severe grumpiness!  Don't know much about oxen but I really don't want to be kicked by one or trampled...  People deserve to be paid fairly.  Cutting pay for company profits is a bad idea.  Employees need to be able to respect their employers.

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
1 Tim 6:10
Putting money above my family, my faith, the needs of others leads to a very lonely, hopeless life.  Things only satisfy when they're new, after that they become outdated.  Spending too much time dwelling on a lack of money also kills our souls.  

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Phil. 4:19
While I was in business, and even now while I'm trying to make it in freelance work, this verse always cheers me up when I'm worried about money.  God will supply our needs.  Maybe not all the things we want, the needs.  He's most concerned with our heart's desires, and the condition of our souls.  He has blessed my family in some amazing ways.  I am so grateful God has so much love and compassion.

Feel free to comment if you like.  God bless!


  1. Hi Karen,
    I look at the state of my country and my heart is broken. Raising taxes will fix nothing. I am convinced, if it were possible to put an extra 10 trillion dollars into our federal government, not one penny would go to paying down debt. The entrie amount would be spent and the debt would continue to pill up. I have spent way too much time worrying about money, however, I must only trust in the Lord to provide for all my needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. Awesmoe post and may God bless you,

  2. Thanks so much Ken! I really appreciate it. Some of these subjects are hard to write about. May God bless you too! The Lord brought all these verses to mind and I couldn't think of anything else. I agree things are looking right for a miracle : )

  3. Constantly praying for our leaders. God gives us what we deserve sometimes I guess.

    Encouraging Thoughts for Life

  4. That's great Derrick I need to consistently and compassionately pray more often. God provides for sure, sometimes it's more than we deserve. He always knows best.