January 15, 2020

One of the weird things about being a pastor is that even though I work for FUMC Temple, and am considered an employee of the Central Texas Conference of the UMC, for tax purposes, I am self-employed. I didn’t make these crazy rules but I have to live with them.

I don’t mind paying taxes. Like death, it’s a part of life. And I am privileged to live in a country where I am truly free. I’m good with paying for it.

Because I am self-employed, today is the tax deadline for paying my fourth-quarter estimated taxes. If my payment is not postmarked January 15, 2020, then it is late and there will be a penalty. Again, I didn’t make these crazy rules but I have to live with them.

When it comes to taxes, there are a lot of rules. In fact, the tax code is so long and complicated, it is beyond my little brain. That’s why God gave me Shannon. But one of the only times I am truly afraid of her is when she is compiling our taxes. In fact, I have discovered through the years that when Shannon is working on our taxes, it is best if I am on my tractor in some far off field. Where taxes are concerned, that’s one of the unwritten rules.

There are a lot of rules in life. There certainly are in Christianity, and just like the tax code, if we aren’t careful, we can become overwhelmed by all the rules in the Bible. Luckily, Jesus simplified everything by summarizing what it is to be faithful to God with two rules.

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

In this complicated, confusing world, the rules for those who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior are very simple: Love God and love neighbor like self. Those are the rules that matter the most.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me to be a person of love, grace, and charity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

So, if you are self-employed remember the rules that matter most today – love and pay your fourth-quarter estimated taxes. Following those rules will keep you out of trouble.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins