Taxes. Taxes. Taxes. As a country, we’ve been talking about taxes a lot these days. I usually look forward to doing my tax return each year, because, in the past, I’ve had some nice tax returns and it’s kind of like getting a little bonus in the Springtime. This year, I’m not looking forward to doing my tax return because in 2012 I actually made a fair bit of money on the side flipping a variety of cars, woo stoves, snow blowers and other random items. This last flip was the highest risk I’ve ever taken. It also ended up being the most I’ve ever made on a flip.
I recently went to dinner with a friend and we were talking about that last flip. He made a comment about how much of my profit would go to taxes and I pretty much told him I was not planning on accounting for when I went to file my taxes. After all, I thought, I had a bunch of expenses that went along with making that money and by the time I account for those things it would all just be a wash anyway. After making that comment (and justifying my decision) the hound of heaven, as the poet Francis Thompson refers to the Holy Spirit, began convicting me of this decision. He gave me some Scripture this morning that convicted me of this decision. He also brought a speech across my vision today from Ravi Zacharias. Ravi is talking to a group at the Mayo Clinic on the subject of what it means to be human. Within that speech, laid this nugget (play the video below).
As hard as it will be to take a hit this year on my tax return, I know that the act of paying my taxes is really a matter of trust. It’s the same thing when I tithe. It’s easy to justify myself and say I need the money for this or for that. The fact is, every cent I make is God’s. Every thing I have is given and granted by my Heavenly Father. Every day we’re given opportunities to trust God with our stuff, our money, our relationships,…God WANTS us to walk in faith. When I go to do my taxes this year, it will be a spiritual exercise just as much as it will be a mathmatic and filing exercise. In the end when I hit the submit button on my tax return, I’ll be saying a short prayer that goes something like this, “God, I could have easily fudged some numbers and gotten a nice big check from the government this year. I could have taken that money and put it towards my kids college fund, my retirement fund, towards some needy family or charity. I could have…but I’m not. You once said, “render unto Caesar what is Caesars…” – well, I’m doing that today and it’s less about rendering to Caesar and more about submitting myself completely to you and trusting you with my finances, my family, my needs and my wants. I trust you God. My heart is yours.”
Optimize magazine published this succinct description of integrity in its May 2005 issue. Thought I’d pass these along…
The 10 Universal Characteristics of Integrity:
1. You know that little things count.
2. You find the white when others see gray.
3. You mess up, you fess up.
4. You create a culture of trust.
5. You keep your word.
6. You care about the greater good.
7. You’re honest but modest.
8. You act like you’re being watched.
9. You hire integrity.
10. You stay the course.
My Mom recently came across a letter that I wrote to her Mom back on February 10th, 1086. I was nine-years-old when I wrote this letter (embedded below)…
My Forester rocks in the snow. Here’s proof (and possibly an idea for your next commercial…although the dog commercials are pretty awesome!).
Watch video here: