Normally, today is the day before Tax Day. Because April 15 falls on Sunday, we are getting a break this year.
But I have to admit it does not matter what the date is, I am never excited about paying taxes. And yet Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar…” (Matthew 22:21). Of course, he followed that up by telling us to give God what belongs to him, too, and I am quite certain that the priority is with God rather than the government. Still, we are called to be good citizens.
According to Paul, we are in many ways “dual citizens.” We live here on Earth and have allegiance to our nation. But our home is also in heaven, though we have yet to go there. We are to spend much of our time preparing for the time when we will finally arrive at our final destination.
While living and working in the suburbs of Detroit, I met many people who held dual citizenship. Many lived in Michigan, but others live across the border in Ontario, Canada. Some crossed the border (one direction or the other) to work every day. Many shopped on both sides. But they proudly held to their citizenship in both the United States and in Canada. Is that possible for the Christian?
There are some who say we are not to have allegiance to life here on Earth, but if that is the case, why did God place us here? Paul told the Roman Christians to submit to earthly laws and leaders, and yet in the book of Acts, the earliest Christian preachers often disobeyed the law when it conflicted with their obedience to the Lord.
So what are we to do? How can we be good citizens of both places? To be a good citizen here in this land, I think there are a few things we should do. We should register to vote, and then vote when the opportunity arises. Some of us should run for public office and serve. All of us should seek ways to serve our fellow man.
But we also must remember that the ultimate answers are not found in this lifetime. We will never have perfect government or perfect people — at least until the Lord brings history to its final culmination. So we must take care to store up our treasures in heaven. We must not put our trust in things that do not last, whether material or some political idea.
Only the Lord deserves our ultimate allegiance. He has earned it by who he is and what he has done for us. Let us be careful to trust only in him for that which matters most.
God will never let us down.