THEME: PAYMENT OF TAX
“You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.”
-Priests and temple servants were exempt from paying tax and enforced labor. The Levites were also not entitled to inheritance, and would rely on tithe offered by the people (Numbers 18:23-24). The king also had tax exemption powers. King Saul offered to give a tax holiday to the family of anyone who would kill Goliath, accompanied by other benefits (1 Samuel 17:25). Some organizations like Non-governmental institutions (NGO’s), charitable organizations, trusts, religious institutions, hospitals, educational institutions are some of the institutions that are tax exempt in Kenya. People with disabilities (PWD’s) are also exempted from paying tax.
Payment of tax is a critical element in any nation and forms part of the fiscal policy. According to the Bible, tax is divided into two major segment; temple tax and tax to the government. Temple tax is the money offered as tithe to the house of the Lord, while ordinary taxes are remittances given to the national government. God has instructed us to pay taxes as we submit to the authorities which He himself has instituted (Romans 13:1-7). If we submit the authorities we submit to Him. Jesus paid both temple tax and tax to Caesar. It is important that we follow His footsteps and obey His will even though the children are free, for are kings and priests to Him. Jesus also demonstrated His authority over nature when Peter got coins from the mouth of a fish (Matthew 17:24-27), and that everything belongs to Him when He said; “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17). Even though sometimes we experience tax wastage by some government officials sanitized by diverse projects, God requires that we play our part in ensuring the proper running of the nation. During the rebuilding of the temple wall, Nehemiah discovered that there was need to negotiate a tax cut for the people due their hard economic conditions. He addressed extortion of Jews by their Persian masters who lived lavishly at their expense. Some Jews borrowed money to pay tax and others sold their children as slaves. He also negotiated temple tax from half a shekel to a third of a shekel annually. As this was taking place, priests and temple workers were enjoying tax exemptions from time immemorial. Priests were holy to God, and offered sacrifices on behalf of the people. In the New Testament, Pharisees viewed themselves as holy and branded tax collectors as sinners. Jesus was confronted by Pharisees for eating with tax collectors, and He responded saying, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:9-13). During prayer, a tax collector repented and asked for mercy but a Pharisees boasted for his good deeds and judged others (Luke 18:11-13). We are called to humble ourselves before the Lord and obey Him, for humility comes before honor.
Dear Almighty Father we come before You with humility in our hearts. We look to You Abba Father, that Your mercy and grace may abound upon us. You are our Great High Priest and sure Foundation, we trust in You. We humbly ask You to forgive us all our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Deliver us dear Jesus for every form of evil and unforgiveness in our hearts. Jesus You are our Lord and Savior, full of mercy and love. May we decrease as You increase dear Jesus. We boldly come to Your throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and grace to help us during our time of need. May Your goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives and we shall dwell in Your house forever. Teach us to do Your will Abba Father. Train our hearts to give tithe and to pay taxes. Teach us to worship You Lord with our gifts, which Your have bestowed unto us. May our sacrifices always be acceptable to You Lord. Bless all the priests, pastors, bishops, teachers, prophets, apostles, worshipers, intercessors, and other ministers of Your word and workers of Your house. Bless all churches and provide for all their needs. May all churches preach Your true word, that it may reach many that they may come to repentance, and grant each one the gift of salvation merciful Savior. May Your presence always be with us Holy Spirit. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Be with us now and forever more. Amen
Further reading: Luke 19:1-10, Revelation 5:9-10
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