On Death and Taxes

I hate to be the one to remind you, but Tax Day is right around the corner. Normally, it would be April 15, but since that day is on a Sunday this year Tax Day is moved back a day. Then, the next day is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., which becomes a defacto holiday for the Internal Revenue Service, and buys you another day. All that said, you have until Tuesday to file your 2017 returns and pay any taxes due.

For whatever it’s worth, you can still “celebrate” April 15 anyway if you like. It’s National Glazed Spiral Ham Day, National Rubber Eraser Day, National Take a Wild Guess Day, and National Titanic Remembrance Day. Or, you can just come to worship with us at Shelby Crossings and celebrate all the blessings God has given us (which the IRS wants to tax).

I think it was Benjamin Franklin who first said that only two things in life are certain:  death and taxes. This week we are reminded how certain taxes really are. The friendly folks at the IRS are pretty serious about collecting their cut of our hard-earned wages to fund our blessed government’s endeavors.

Perhaps you have heard of the new simple tax form that some have suggested. At the top of the form you write your name and Social Security number. Then there are two lines with the simplest of instructions:  How much did you make?  and Send it to us.

If you still are trying to get your tax returns finished, here are a few deductions that are not allowed to take. You cannot write off last year’s tax as a bad investment. You cannot claim depreciation on your wife and children. You cannot deduct health club dues as a total loss. And the IRS won’t buy the idea that if you spend it before you earn it, it’s not really income.

Really, there’s not much you can do about taxes but pay them. Even Jesus taught that we are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.  But then again, we can also vote to determine who our Caesar will be, depending upon how much he or she wants to tax us. That’s a message for another day.

The good news of this season is that old Ben Franklin wasn’t as wise as he thought he was. Taxes may be certain, but death? Not so much. For believers in Christ, we have hope when it comes to matters of life and death. We are reminded of that especially this time of year, at Easter, but really it’s a reality for us the year round. We never have to fear death again.

When Jesus rose from the grave He defeated death–not just for Himself, but for all of us who know Him.  “I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus said.  “He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”  (John 11:25-26) .

So regardless of your standing with the IRS, the tomb is still empty, and your life doesn’t have to be!  I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we celebrate the good news of our resurrected Lord again this week with a great time of worship together at Shelby Crossings. It’s better than a glazed spiral ham!