MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

April 14, 2014

Remember to also please pray for our government

We as taxpayers shake our heads in disgust when we see evidence of governments wasting money on pet projects instead of using it where it would be most beneficial. Tax collectors have battled image problems for thousands of years, probably because a few greedy bad apples who abused their power have rotted the reputation of the rest.

For many of us, the April 15 tax deadline is not a big deal. Some even look forward to it, while others absolutely dread it because they know they’ll have to pay. For me, I guess I’m somewhere in the middle, where sorting through tax information is more of an inconvenience than anything, but one I believe is well worth living in this great country. But I do wish those we elect would respect the work it takes to generate all those tax dollars.

In the New Testament (Luke 19:1-9), Jesus told the story of a wealthy tax collector named Zacchaeus who had the reputation of living a sinful lifestyle. He had climbed up a sycamore tree as Jesus was coming by so he could get a better look at him. People were appalled because as Jesus approached the tree where Zacchaeus was perched, He called the man by name and told him to come down because Jesus needed a place to stay. Evidently Jesus felt the need to spend some time at Zacchaeus’s house in spite of popular opinion which was against Jesus being the guest of a sinner. After all, Zacchaeus was a Jew collecting taxes for the Roman government. Most of the people around Jesus probably saw Zacchaeus as a dishonest traitor who likely collected more than necessary so he could keep any extra for himself. This would have also been the popular view of Matthew (aka Levi), another tax collector who Jesus chose to be an apostle.

Jesus saw something special in both of these unlikely disciples that compelled Him to offer them something much greater than money — a relationship with God the Father. Both of them repented and gladly received Jesus and continued to follow His teachings for their lives.

I think sometimes we forget (or at least underestimate) the power of Jesus Christ to change lives and attitudes today just as He did in the first century. The apostle Paul said that we should pray for all those in authority so that we can have a better quality life here on earth, and so all people will know the truth and be saved (ref: 1 Tim. 2:1-3). Jesus gave His life for all sinners, even ones like Zacchaeus, and you and me.  

The prophet Isaiah recorded some very encouraging words of God 2,700 years ago that should give today’s Christians some perspective on our efforts to spread the Gospel story of Jesus: “As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields see for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).”  

Remember to pray for our government and our elected leaders, and make good use of every opportunity to tell someone about the life we’re all invited to have in Christ. Have a blessed week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or barrett@ftgcc.org.

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