Benjamin Franklin is credited with the famous statement that nothing in life is as certain as death and taxes. But, believe it or not, April 15th and Federal income taxes haven’t always been a part of American life. In fact, it wasn’t until 1913 when the 16th amendment was ratified that individual taxation began in America.
It was 1954, though, that solidified April 15th as the day that many Americans dread. But did you know that Congress made April 15th the day in order to try to help make life easier for Americans, not hurt them?
You see, March 15th used to be Tax Day until 1954 when the government moved it to April 15th. The reason? Well, there were two: 1) They were trying to give people an extra month to recover from Christmas debt, and 2) they were trying to get away from an ancient Roman stigma of the Ides of March, the date of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44BC. It was known throughout history as an “unlucky day.”
That’s right! Tax Day used to be even more depressing! Believe it or not, as people were still reeling from Christmas debt, they joked about the dreaded Tax Day and the Ides of March, thereby immortalizing Benjamin Franklin’s statement – “Death & Taxes.”
Long before taxes were joked about and hated by many Americans, and long before tea parties in Boston (or anywhere else), people have always had issues with tax day and the taxman. But before you complain about taxes or make that favorite IRS joke, keep in mind, you may not be thinking the way Jesus did!
In the Bible, we read a lot about death and taxes. Jesus hated one and gave appropriate respect to the other. Want to guess which was which?
For your consideration:
- Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Jesus went to his house, ate with him, and helped him to get on the right spiritual path (Luke 19:1-10).
- Matthew was a tax collector who Jesus made one of His disciples. He ate at Matthew’s house with many of Matthew’s tax-collector friends (Matthew 9).
- Jesus instructed Peter to pay them so as to not “offend” (Matthew 17:27).
- Jesus, confirmed that one should “”Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17).
- Jesus was moved deeply (angry) with the fact of death (John 11:33).
- Jesus had victory over death in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:57).
- Jesus tells us that death will be thrown in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).
Taxes aren’t my favorite thing, but I know they serve a purpose. And I know that if my concentration is on April 15th woes, then my focus is off of Jesus. Have you submitted to Him? He paid the debt He didn’t owe because of the debt we couldn’t pay…the ultimate tax! And He overcame death for us. Give it some thought…