Sermon Illustrations

Construction workers attempt to use God to take what is Caesars. (Matt 22:15-21)

In the late 1970’s large numbers of skilled construction workers, commonly referred to as “Boomers”, traveled the country looking for work on electric power plant maintenance projects. These were short-term (4-8 weeks), high-overtime (60-70 hours a week) projects.

The Boomers loved the overtime, but hated to pay taxes. So they came up with a scheme. Suddenly, our payroll department noticed something unusual about the W-4’s many of the Boomers were filling out at time of hire. As you know for most people the normal number of tax exemptions is 2, 3, 4 or so depending on family size. The higher the number of exemptions, the less tax is withheld from the weekly paycheck. These Boomers were filing W-4’s with 99 exemptions, which had the effect of eliminating any tax withholding from their paycheck.

Needless to say, the IRS took exception to this practice and required these workers to justify their claim of exemption from withholding taxes.

The Boomers were ready for the IRS. Each promptly produced a letter/certificate from a so-called School of Theology in Illinois which declared the Boomer to be an ordained minister. The Boomer’s letter was on stationary from the Church of This or the Church of That in Illinois, professing that he/she was the pastor of that church and that all labor was rendered in the name of God and all earnings belonged to the Church and were therefore tax exempt.

Well, the IRS didn’t buy that either and the scheme was squashed.

The Boomers were not unlike the Pharisees. They wanted to use God to deny Caesar what is Caesars. The boomers were just greedy. The Pharisees were greedy too, but mostly wanted to trap Jesus. BIG MISTAKE!! Jesus set them all straight and sets us straight by commanding us to “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. We, like Jesus, are not OF this world, but we are IN this world. Thus we are called be both good citizens and good Christians.

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