Summary: We are called to be good citizens, good neighbors and good examples... living decent lives for all to see.
Title: Good Debt (Not What You Think!)
Text: Romans 13:8-14
Thesis: We are called to be good citizens, good neighbors and good examples… living decent lives for all to see.
Debt has a number of categories… one is Government debt.
The Urban Dictionary defines debt simply as: “What America is in a lot of.” As of February of this year the United States owed over 17 trillion dollars in external debt in US dollars to international creditors. That amounts to $52,170 per capita in our country. That17 trillion dollars is 106% of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
It could be worse…we could be living in “Denial” which is this case is not a river in Egypt. Many European countries like the United Kingdom, which owes 406% of its GDP and Ireland, which owes 1,008.2% of its GDP are sinking fast in the murky waters of debt.
China on the other hand owes just 37.5% of its GDP.
As I looked through the list of eternal debt owed by all the countries in the world I noticed that most of the countries who receive humanitarian or military aid from the United States manage to keep their debt percentages well below their GDP. Egypt for example owes only 14% of its GDP and Israel and Pakistan are at 42% and 30% respectively. It is comforting to know that we are going into debt to assist those who are less indebted than are we. It is comforting like I feel comforted when someone asks me to give them money so they can gas up their late model SUV while I drive a 13 year dream machine… that means I dream it’s a 2014 Ram 3500 Laramie Mega Cab Dually with a 6.7 Cummins Diesel and a 6 speed, 850 Torque Output Allison Transmission.
Government debt is public debt but understand that public debt is owed by the American taxpayers. However our text today does not directly address the issue of taxation to pay for external government debt but it does speak to what may be understood as civic responsibility or debt.
One of the teachings in scripture is the responsibility of Christians to pay their taxes. As good citizens we pay our public debt of taxes.
I. Good Citizens: The Public Debt of Taxes (The State)
“Pay your taxes… pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” Romans 13:6-7
(With regard to honoring and respecting tax collectors… they were a reviled lot in those days. Jesus was criticized for hanging with the likes of tax collectors and sinner. We may have similar feelings toward our county assessors.)
There are numerous amusing quips about taxes.
• "The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." -- Will Rogers
• "The only thing that hurts more than paying an income tax is not having to pay an income tax." -- Thomas Dewar
• “I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”-- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
But of taxes, Paul wrote, “Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those in authority.” Romans 13:6-7