“Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

Was Thursday, April 15th a taxing day for you? Millions of Americans dutifully filed through post offices and financial offices to complete at the last minute their obligation to Uncle Sam. I’m not sure that anybody would label April 15th as one of their favorite days of the year!

As frustrating as government waste, spending, and thus, taxation is to me, I have to remember that God has chosen to work through governments, and they “bear not the sword in vain!” (Romans 13:4). Christians are subjects of a different kingdom, citizens of heaven. What are we to do with this mess here on earth?

Christians should be good citizens. We should be good neighbors. We should be good employees and employers. We should stand for righteousness and cry out against injustice. We should give real help to the poor and hurting—dollars and sense. We should declare that there is good news in a “kingdom not of this world!”

At the same time, we remember Jesus’ words when we fill out our 1040s: give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, to God what is God’s. The second half of that phrase is vitally important: are we giving God his due? Uncle Sam will come find us if we shortchange him. God’s evaluation of our lives doesn’t come in the form of an audit with penalties. Do we worship him in spirit and truth? Do we serve him with enthusiasm? Do we build up his body, the church, at every opportunity? In the end, what we do for Caesar matters far less than what we do for God.