Monday, June 26, 2006
I really wanted to write a "vent post" tonight, but I just can't. And if I vent anything, let me vent that it ticks me off that this will be the end of my venting due to one of those convicting moments.
Today I spent my lunch break on hold with the Oregon Department of Revenue after receiving a notification in the mail of a penalty on my 2005 tax return. Alex, the incredibly nice government lackey who had the joy of helping me today, discovered that the check that I sent in to pay my 2005 tax was applied to a bill from 2000. Interesting that I had a bill from 2000 considering I didn't even move to Oregon until 2004. I have since written a letter, to be mailed tomorrow, asking for a correction of this problem.
This I wanted to write out in sordid detail in order to somehow make me feel better about the government screw-up and my wasted lunch, but then I read a friend's recent post, then another friend's post. And then I remembered what Jesus said on the matter of government and taxes: give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's (Matthew 22:21).
I have to say that we are blessed to live in the country that we do. I don't think any of us who have seen the horrors of third world life whether directly or indirectly could deny that we are blessed. But I'm not one to stand up in American pride. I'm much more likely to be complaining about the state of the country and it's egotism. But this I am rethinking us well.
Jesus had very little to say about Rome. I believe his silence on the subject was because Jesus lived for a nation and a Kingdom that was not of this earth. Rome was not important to him. What was important was being merciful and loving people. What was important was his message that the Kingdom of God is very, very near.
So maybe if Rome wasn't important to Jesus, the US doesn't need to be so important to us. I'm not saying don't vote or pay your taxes, though the latter was looking rather appealing earlier today. I'm not saying don't enjoy the freedoms you have as an American. I'm just saying maybe it's not important enough to really worry about. What is more important is being merciful and loving people and loving God.