This week all of us “wait-till-the-last-minute” types are busy submitting our tax returns…or not. Many people are wondering why they should pay their taxes when we’re not even sure if the leader of the land of the free has paid taxes on his immense wealth throughout the years.
We do look to our leaders for guidance in how to behave in situations and how to interact in this world. Sadly, guidance on whether to pay taxes is not to be had from this president.
But back in the 1990s, evangelical Christians who looked to their understanding of Jesus for guidance took to wearing wristbands with the abbreviation “WWJD” on it. The letters stood for “What would Jesus do?”, which served as a reminder to act in a manner that would reflect the highest qualities Jesus demonstrated.
So – here we are at tax time. WWJD? Would Jesus pay his taxes?
We could speculate, but nobody really knows. We weren’t there. And need I say, 2,000 plus years ago was a totally different time.
But there is a story that’s corroborated in three of the four gospels in which Jesus actually talked about taxes. As the story goes, hostile questioners, i.e., spies sent by the powerfully influential religious leaders, asked Jesus if he thought they should pay taxes to the Roman emperor Caesar. They thought he would say, “no.” Then they could expose him as an anti-government demagogue and turn him over to Roman authorities.
But like any great teacher, Jesus used every opportunity to teach, and this time was no different. He gave them an answer that taught, as he always did, about our relationship with both the spiritual and the material aspects of life. He said,
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s
and to God the things that are God’s.”
By this he was pointing out that there’s the visible world represented by the coin with Caesar’s name stamped on it, and there’s also the invisible, unmanifest realm of being – what could be called God, Spirit, Energy, Universal Lifeforce, etc.
The great master was telling them that you can focus on that which is physical and finite, or you can focus on the invisible, infinite essence of everything that exists.
It’s your choice. Placing your attention on things like food, money or even people, or focusing your faith on material conditions of the world or of a country, is like staring at the reflection of a mountain range in a lake. It looks powerful, but it’s not the real thing.
When we realize that our true nature is made of this invisible essence, we align with the power that manifests everything. We begin to see and experience the majestic mountain range of support and sustenance for all life that has always been and will always be. That energy becomes our energy. That power becomes our power, vitality, strength and abundance.