Politicians talk of raising our taxes again. While they search for ways to raise revenue, citizens search for loopholes and exemptions to keep it. We are all interested in things that are tax-free.
Jesus knew what it was like to have to pay taxes (Matthew 17:24-27). Some of His most dedicated followers were tax-collectors (Matthew 9:9; Luke 19:2). He commands us to pay our taxes (Romans 13:6-7). Yet we do not have to pay taxes on our most valuable possessions. They are tax-free.
Every Christian is so very rich, no matter what his bank statement says. How is it possible to be poor and rich at the same time? There is physical treasure and spiritual treasure. James wrote, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:5). Jesus had John write to the church at Smyrna: “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich)” (Revelation 2:9). They were rich without money. The man whose wealth overflowed his barns was on spiritual “welfare” because he laid up treasure for himself and was not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). Paul charged the wealthy to not forget true riches. “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (1 Timothy 6:18).
The Government Can Tax Our Houses but not Our Mansions.
As Christians, we are so wealthy that we have two homes. We stay in this one temporarily while the other is being readied.
Jesus promised, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). Paul added, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). One of these days, it will be ready and we will get to move in (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The Government Can Tax Our Savings but not Our Treasures.
Christians have a special IRA that is tax-free, pays high interest, and matures in eternity. It is in a bank outside the country and cannot be touched until we pass “retirement” age (Hebrews 9:27). Jesus instructed, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus encouraged one young man to take out such an account, but He was unsuccessful in convincing him of its value: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:21-22). He was more interested in the kind of income they do tax.
Jesus offers us the same deal: “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth” (Luke 12:33). The wise lay “up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1Timothy 6:19). Peter describes our inheritance as “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
The Government Can Tax Our Jewelry but not Our Crown.
They assess the value of our rings, necklaces, watches, and bracelets, but they cannot tax our most treasured piece of jewelry—our crown of life. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12). Paul rejoiced that “henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
The Government Can Tax Our Possessions but not Our Blessings.
If forced to choose, we would forsake every earthly possession in order to keep our peace of mind. Spiritually, we have remission of sins (Acts 2:38), newness of life (Romans 6:3-4), hope of everlasting life (Mark 10:29-30; John 3:16; Titus 3:7; 1 John 2:25), peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), joy unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8), and songs in the night (Psalm 42:8). No one can ever tax these riches.
A tax assessor came one day to a poor Christian to determine the amount of taxes he would have to pay. He asked, “What property do you possess?”
“I am a very wealthy man,” replied the Christian.
“List your possessions, please,” the assessor instructed.
This is what the Christian said: “First, I have everlasting life (John 3:16). Second, I have a mansion in heaven (John 14:2). Third, I have a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Fourth, I have joy unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8). Fifth, I have divine love, which never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). Sixth, I have a faithful wife whose price is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10-12). Seventh, I have healthy, happy, obedient children whom I treasure (Exodus 20:12). Eighth, I have true, loyal friends (Proverbs 18:24). Ninth, I have songs in the night (Psalm 42:8). Tenth, I have a crown of life (James 1:12). Eleventh, I have a doctor who is on call at all times, and he makes house calls (Psalm 30:2). Finally, I shall never suffer want as my every need is provided (Philippians 4:19).”
The tax assessor closed his book, and said, “Truly you are a very rich man, but your property is not subject to taxation.”
How blessed we are! We had better keep this to ourselves, or the politicians will try to find a way to tax blessings, too.