I’m not sure why the tax season coincides with the Easter season, but it seems a prophetic correlation. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
I’ve been surrounded by forms, receipts, payments, household improvements, medical bills, donations, and a bunch of tax documents that say how much we spent, how much we earned, and how much we still owe.
Tribulation comes in a lot of ways and the tax season is in my top twenty!
As much as I hate messing with the tax season, it is a good review each year. All of the paperwork and number crunching is a good reminder of our choices and priorities. Easter, however, is the ultimate review of all that God feels is most important.
In a word, it is “us.”
What does God spend?
John 3:16 is the best description of what God spent for our sakes. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
That one verse describes God’s priorities. God loves “us.” He loved his creation. He loved this world. He loved his Son. He loved us with that same perfect love because he can’t love us with less than his best.
God didn’t just spend; he gave.
When I compared the money we spent to the money we gave, the two totals were very different. We enjoy supporting God’s work in the world and giving what we don’t need to people who do need it.
But, the things we gave away were mostly the things we didn’t use or need anymore. When it comes to our income, God asks for a tithe and lets us have most of it for ourselves. But God gave his Son for our eternal salvation and sanctification.
If we gave everything we owned, our offering would still not come close to the gifts we have received from our Lord.
What does God value?
God gave us Jesus so that whoever believes in him would never die. Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life in heaven. God values things that are eternal. God values everyone so he gave Jesus to everyone. God values our eternal lives; therefore, God gave what was necessary for us to live eternally.
Now, God values our earthly lives with an eternal perspective. We are loved as his children. We are encouraged, led, and gifted to spend our earthly lives with eternal priorities. He wants to “store up” those things that will be treasure in heaven.
Your 401“e” – are you planning for your eternity?
My taxes are done and the checks are in the mail. Another year, another return, and another thick file for our records. Whew!!! It is a GOOD FEELING to shut that drawer.
It would be easy to focus on all that it costs to live in this world. It’s more important to remember that this life is temporary and if we have all that we need to send those checks, we are blessed!
I remember our first years of marriage when paying taxes meant we had to be careful with our grocery shopping and gas money. We learned how to save for the future, and, while it still isn’t “fun” to write the checks, it is fulfilling to know we are able.
As we get older, it is also fulfilling to know we have planned for our future. We have been blessed to serve several churches, and now our current ministry, that have wanted to help us save for retirement. There is a sense of security to have invested money toward those years. Thank you, Lord, for things like a 401(k) and other investments. That said, we are hopeful the “roller-coaster” graph will start that uphill climb again sometime soon. The “drops” do make my stomach turn just a bit!
That’s why our 401“e”s need to be the most important investment we make. The “e” stands for eternity. The “k” in 401(k) stands for a specific IRS code that describes earthly retirement money. We work hard to invest in our 401(k)s, and we should work much harder to invest in things that will matter for all eternity.
How do you invest in your 401“e”?
God made sure we would know how to invest our earthly lives in eternal priorities. We don’t have to wonder if our 401“e”s are doing well on that roller-coaster graph.
Consider these verses:
- “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lᴏʀᴅ require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
- “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17).
- “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
- “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
There are so many verses in Scripture that define right, eternal priorities. I can sum them up by saying that when you have filed your last tax return here on earth, you will be presented with your treasure in heaven.
Your 401“e” will take care of you for all eternity, and every day the Lord gives you on earth will provide the chance to make deposits that will benefit you forever.
We can live with Easter priorities all year long
I’m glad our taxes are done and we can put that thick file in the drawer! But I’m also glad the annual reminder comes during this time of year.
I am still grateful for our government and this country, even though it seems to get costlier each year. I honestly don’t want to call any other country home. So, I will pay taxes until I go to heaven and look forward to the day I live in my eternal home.
If we can live with an Easter perspective all year, we will live more invested in God’s priorities than this world’s. We will file our last tax return one day and we will exchange this life for our lives eternal.
How is your 401“e” doing?
Easter is a good time to consider that graph line and make any necessary adjustments to send it or keep it on that steep upward climb.
Your eternal investments will last forever.