February has opened its sleepy eyes and stretched, playing the role of leader as we head through winter to spring. As in flowers, birdsong, and taxes.
I’ve been busy gathering my receipts this week, preparing to meet with my tax consultant soon. Though this is not a job I relish, it has to be done, and I try to make the experience as pleasurable as possible.
Receipts are a way of looking back over the year now ended, of reflecting on where all those days went that seemed to zip by and vaporize like magic. Three hundred and sixty-five days spent living, working, and playing remembered with only a slip of paper to jog my memory as to what I did with that time.
I’d forgotten the conference I attended in August, but the hotel’s statement proved I’d been. The tree that died in the yard was removed. The arborist’s calling card and bill reminded me. I’d been to church and to the grocery store many times—the giving record and the itemized list of purchases attested my life had been busy. But how will these items play a part in the overall scheme of running a country?
Taxes are a way to pay my share of the cost. Government isn’t run on wishes, but on concrete decisions to keep the nation in order. Every citizen has a role in paying for the amenities we enjoy—public schools, paved roads, national parks. It is a privilege assigned to us by the Lord himself.
In Matthew 22:21-22 Jesus holds out a coin and asks those around him, “Whose image is this?” When they answer Caesars’s He replies, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way.”
Whose faces are on the bills in your wallet? Former presidents, treasurers, and the nation’s capitol? All reminders that we are a country united by a common history and all of us should bear the load.
Oh look! There’s the bill for my trip to the dentist! Not a happy memory.