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The truth of matter is, we present our tithes and offerings to Lord, not for a blessing but because we have been blessed already. Any other take on this subject does not carry biblical authority. The tithe belongs to God.
Behind political platform, politician talks about taxes. One wants to raise my taxes.
Another wants to cut my taxes. The lips may say, "No new taxes," but heart of every politician says, "expand old taxes." It all depends on what your definition of "is," is.
It has taken me years but I have finally figured out my income tax.
First, list as dependents your wife, two children, car and three goldfish. Now multiply your age by six and seven-eights and subtract your telephone number. Add those figures, divide by your social security number and multiply by number of electric lights in your house.
Now you have your gross income, which, after dividing by your chest measurement and subtracting your blood pressure you finally get amount owed to government.
Don't tell me I don't listen to those political speeches.
This brings me to my dilemma with Gary Hemsely. He was running for a political office and wanted my support. What I do in that voting booth is between me and nobody else.
I smiled at Gary and said, "Gary, I'll support you as best I can," which I thought would be end of it. Gary took me more seriously than I thought.
"Pastor," he said to me, "would you mind if I gave my campaign speech in church this coming Sunday morning?"
There are those rare times when a preacher must evolve into a politician and this certainly qualified. I saw two problems to this.
First, Sunday morning worship is no place for a political speech. People might confuse their tithing with taxes, which would be taxing on collection plate.
More important, Gary could say less in one hour than most people could say in three minutes, but it usually took him two hours to say it. He won National Stuttering Championship four years in a row, more than anyone to date. There was no way that I could allow this, but I did not want to hurt Gary's feelings.
I finally looked him in eye and said, "I'm sorry Gary but we just can't do that. It is a matter of separation of church and state, and you don't want to be accused of violating that. It wouldn't be good for your political career."
Gary saw rationale of my argument and matter was settled.
Some critics of Jesus once tried to stump Him on matter of taxes. He replied, "And Jesus answering said unto them, ‘Render to Caesar things that are Caesar's, and to God things that are God's.' And they marveled at him." (Mark 12:17 KJV.)
A good citizen, no matter what political party affiliation, knows difference and does both.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road in Silver Springs Shores. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores and can be contacted at 687-4240. Rev. Snyder's new book, Romance Around A Parsonage Fireplace, is now available. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.