Being a Good Citizen, Part 1
Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Finish the following sentence: I am a citizen of _________________.
There is no wrong answer here, but it’s probably a good thing if you answered “heaven” first. Philippians 3:20 reminds us that our real citizenship is in heaven, and Hebrews 11:13 tells us that we, like the giants of the faith described in that chapter, are simply “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Once we’re born again, we have been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
Yet we remain here. The Lord clearly wanted us to stay and bring His life to the world around us, or we would have died or been taken up into heaven immediately upon salvation.
God in His infinite wisdom has caused us all to be born in a certain place at a certain time. Can we honor that providential act of God by embracing our place and time? Matthew 5:13-14 tells us that we are the salt and the light in this world, which means we must come into contact with our surroundings, preserving what’s good and showing the way and the truth to the world around us.
One of those ways is by fully engaging our roles as citizens—citizens of a country, a region, a state and a town. If Queen Esther was born “for such a time [and place] as this,” so are we. Responsibilities will vary from person to person, but we are each called to rightly relate as citizens and members of our communities.
One simple and clear way we do that is to “be subject to rulers and authorities.” That means we obey the law, including paying taxes.
Mark 12:17 couldn’t be clearer: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Taxation was no less intense a topic back then than it is today, especially since it was associated with the hated Roman oppressors.
Check your actions here: Do you pay your taxes—all of them? Do you pay or receive pay “under the table”? That’s simply another name for tax evasion, which is illegal. While there are real and understandable reasons why this is a challenge, we need to bring these concerns to Him in prayer, believing Him for his power and direction. He can’t bless disobedience.
Check your heart: Can you believe that God is bigger than the government laws, and that He will bless your faithfulness?
Prayer: Lord, I want to be effective in my place and time, as Esther and the sons of Issachar were (I Chronicles 12:32). Help me see continually that you are greater than all other forces in this world. Help me to be faithful with my money, trusting You for all I need and for all You want me to have.