Matthew 17:24-27;22:15, Mark 12; Luke 20, Jesus said, Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, to God what belongs to God. The Biblical accounts of Gospels in Capernaum said tax collectors of two drachma temple tax asked Peter if Jesus pays tax, he said He does. If Jesus paid taxes then what did Jesus teach His disciples? Matthew records two taxes Jesus paid in Matthew 17:24-27; 22:15-22 temple tax and tax to government in Rome. People asked Jesus: “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” It was a ploy to set a trap for Jesus. But He saw through their attempt to manipulate Him and falsely accuse Him of asking people not to pay. So obliged to pay the tax, Jesus paid His taxes with the coin from the mouth of a fish Peter caught. Tax collector cornered Peter and asked if Jesus paid the temple tax. Later in Matthew 17:2427 Jesus said to Peter at home, “Simon, does the kings collect taxes from their own children or from other people? Peter answered the others. And Jesus replied we don’t want to cause trouble go cast a net in the lake and the first fish you catch open mouth, and you will find a coin. Use coin to pay your taxes and mine.” Take it and give them for my tax and yours.”Jesus told the Pharisees and Herodians to give to Caesar things belong to Caesar in Mark 12. The issue is controversial as people disagree on how the government spends money. Some people feel angry because their needs are not met though they pay tax. The Bible example of Jesus to pay taxes again in Gospel of Matthew Mark and Luke are other account of the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus to find the reason to accuse him. In Matthew 22:15-22 Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap Jesus to use His words against Him.Pharisees disciples with Herodians said “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are sincere so teach the way of God in truth. You are not influenced by men. Tell us, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus, knowing their evil intention said, “You hypocrites why are you trying to trap me? Show a coin for paying tax.” They brought him a denarius and He asked them, “Whose head inscription?” They said, “Caesar’s. Then He said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God belongs to God.” When they heard this, they were amazed so they left him and went away.If Jesus refused to pay or He condemned Caesar they will accuse Jesus of inciting rebellion. People had no choice but to pay as Jesus also did. And Zachaeus a tax collector climbed a tree to see Jesus passing by. Impressed Jesus dined in his home during meal he decided to restore money he extorted by collecting taxes in Mark 2:13-17. In Psalm 24:1, The earth is the LORD’S and everything in it but life requires money to function, pay staff, provide services, resources, processing, printing costs, transporting goods. And maintaining the structures and repairs restoration, regeneration, grounds and gardens etc. Too numerous to list costs of services provided by the nations. Amazon, Google, Wealthy Offshore accounts do not pay tax proportionately fairly like others.Jesus and His disciples voluntarily gave to the Temple tax and state to set a good example. Taxes paid directly to local tax collectors who decided what people pay. Tax collectors paid by charging people more to earn money. Levi, the apostle was the customs official in Capernaum taxed imports and exports as he liked. The Jews hated him because he worked for Rome and betrayed his countrymen. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector for the Jericho district notorious for taxes changed meeting Jesus of Nazareth.People are saying the tax exemption for Churches are unfair making mega rich pastors super wealthy multimillionaires Church members struggle to pay bills, food, mortgage, health insurance, fees or basic necessities of life. Private jets, mansions get bigger, fleet of cars longer but members poor. Its a major source of tension rich multi billionaires are state sponsored in extravagant lifestyles. Schools reduce hours, hospitals cut staff budget reduced. The churches use tithe, offerings, donations, for salaries wages, cost of projects, feed orphans, help poor under the radar, homeless, HIV, disaster flood victims, TV ministry, preaching, teaching Gospel Message of Jesus Christ, Evangelism etc. among wonderful work of God. Admission fee puts people off so first time Benny Hinn was at NEC entry was free. Thousands turned up with no room for overflow solved crowd control next visit with ticket admission. Only a few people turned up venue was almost empty. God said nobody must enter HIS Presence empty handed so Jesus talked about the widow’s mite even poor give. In Exodus 23:15 God said, no one shall appear before ME empty-handed. Also in Exodus 34:20 God said no one must appear before ME empty-handed. Again in Deuteronomy 16:16 God said do not appear before the LORD empty-handed.Gap between the rich and poor widens causing hunger and the stress, pressure, unemployment, lack, in deprived areas. No resources for disadvantaged so most public servants cannot get on the home ownership ladder. Many depend on the food banks despite their hard work and education. Zero hour job wastes time of trained staff without job or income. And the popular highly influential Christian leaders spew wrong ideas as ‘Christian Ideas.’ Don’t be misled…Study the bible yourself to know the truth of the Word of Christ. Read Bible as JesusFollowers and Christian’s. Some think Churches must follow Jesus’ example to provide fairly for the least in society too. So gap between rich and poor widens as many continue to suffer daily, starve and die in the most advance developed wealthy countries. Unfortunately a Class divide disproportionately allocate lion share to themselves as the world watches them flaunt it in their faces daily. 1 Timothy 6:10 says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Craving more money is cause of all evil in doing so wander from true faith so pierce themselves with sorrow.A Christian family is fined taxes saying it is against God’s will to pay taxes. The Christian family refused to pay income tax because its “against God’s will” but are ordered to pay more than A$2m tax (£1.1m $1.4m) to Australia’s tax office. It is Christian debate Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot and Fanny Alida Beerepoot of Tasmania do not pay income tax since 2011 as their religious right. Their farm was seized and sold by a local council in 2017 for not paying seven years of tax rates. Ms Beerepoot told the court: “We don’t own anything because it is God’s.” The siblings represented themselves in Supreme Court of Tasmania Wednesday, after did not pay $930,000 in income tax or other charges in 2017 ABC News said.Rembertus Cornelis Beerepoot (left) and Fanny Alida Beerepoot (far right) seen here outside the court in Tasmania. Mr Beerepoot argued the law of God is the “supreme law of this land” and making people pay tax weakens dependency on God, leading to “curses… in the form of droughts and infertility.” “Transferring allegiance from God to Commonwealth means rebelling against God breaking first commandment,” he said, according to the public broadcaster. In judgement, Associate Justice Stephen Holt said he believed Beerepoots’ beliefs is genuinely held but there is no specific reference in Bible to support their argument. “In my view, Bible effectively said civil matters and law of God operate in two different spheres.” So the siblings ordered to pay sums of – Ms Beerepoot A$1.17m and Mr Beereport A$1.16m to cover income tax, administrative penalties and all interest charges” and costs in court documents. What do you think about various views?
God says value elders and care for them so you will live long and be blessed by God it will be well with you. This is the commandment God made and condition attached for those obeying word of God. There are three types of care provided for elders depending on their needs. 1. Medical Care for their health by doctors, pharmacists, nurses and auxiliary staff. 2. Personal Assistants: family, friends or employed to feed, wash, clean premises, personal hygiene, laundry, shop, outing and talking to them as human beings daily if able to communicate. If unable to talk suitable contact for awareness so not alone. 3. Financial Provisions by family if they can afford it or support from public funds. Examine your life and see which category of care needs is possibly provided by you. There are so many unsung heroes 24/7 doing all care needs alone without support or respite care or break to rest and recover from stress. God says HE judges the nations by care provided for “the least of these” in society which includes elders. Those unable to repay the cost of kindness and generosity towards them is important to Jesus who at times disguises Himself to test love for others. There is assumption as long as money is sent regularly to the elders, latest most expensive gadget and grandest designer homes provided, paid for agency staff taking care of them they will be fine. Genuine caring agencies have limited time per person from 15 minutes to hour because of shortage of staff. Quality care impossible to provide within such a limited time frame. They must spread their time between many patients and rush through care because it’s so expensive to pay for the services. Most elders are forced to sell the family homes to pay for medical care so have no inheritance left to pass on to loved ones. These elders sacrificed and fought wars to defend and protect the nation’s and resources taken for granted by the modern generations. Sadly, when elders are too old to work, earn or mobile they are considered useless by very society indulging in their labour, sweat or toils. Remember one day you too will grow old and must not forget the elders. Many have incomes that can provide for elders but choose to ignore them. Others lost contact so do not have awareness of their wellbeing whether they are even alive. Many live close by for many years unknown to each other until after death they discover how near each other they were. A misconception of Bible to “leave father and mother and cleave to wife” misinterpreted by some to mean ABANDON FAMILY. So they cut the family off, isolate themselves from a family that sacrifice everything to raise them into who they are. They prefer the company of their vibrant friends as the society promotes friendships above the family. Many do not realise they can set up funds to provide an elders needs and delegate assistant for the personal care PAY for their time and services and not taken for granted because relatives in the family. Gadget care is good idea but is limited in PRACTICAL FUNCTIONS so mechanised human care. People in their last stages of life need comforting touch of healing even from a hired wellbeing or death doula is better than complete isolation. Often an elder in “second childhood” of life is literally a helpless toddler unable to think, decide or care for themselves. This shocks the family who watch a strong parent turn into a helpless child. To many people they seem as acting to demand attention so may not be helped immediately. It is after years of trying in vain before the help required is ascertained for them. It is necessary to understand some cannot keep up with paper work, documents, online technology constantly changing, become forgetful and in extreme cases suffer from dementia. Dementia means they have no control over thoughts so can offend others, use perverted speech totally unlike them in the previous years. May eat but forget and say they have not eaten or not eat and say they have eaten. Those immobile are carried like baby, washed, fed or use commode wheelchair, zema frame. Active elders can be slow in walking or going up and descending stairs as Mr Bean’s video experience shows. Some drive slower or misunderstand road signs so find themselves in the wrong lane. Its not attention seeking deliberate winding of modern generations. It is the lack of awareness due to peering society so seen as them versus us. It is worse if they cannot express themselves or they became dependent on the very people they raised. Some unfortunately resent them or are embarrassed due to their nature, illness or condition. Elders now live longer due to better health care but after pension some outlive their income and need top up from the family or the society as a whole. The amount of waste thrown away can be used to provide the care needed. So many unemployed can volunteer to help clean premises, shop and cook for those who want help. Pool of human resources available is ignored for the sophisticated expensive gadgets gulping limited resources. So society is responsible for all elders not privileged few whose needs are not compromised. It’s beyond belief how quickly resources are made available for some while the others are delayed or ignored because not regarded as human enough. Above all nobody brought anything into this world or will anyone take anything out. So GOD is the source of all human life and the material resources HE provides for the well-being of all. A competitive spirit wants to be seen as having the best and most expensive material things mislead some to not provide for elders. Take a look at past gadgets, you often ask yourself “what was I thinking?” You laugh at old useless past fads, fashions, bags, shoes, clothes, hairstyles, decors, gadgets, or phones, homes etc. prices paid for by starving elders abandoned. Some use coban excuse to give to God, church, other societies, organisations, charities, animal welfare but not give to human relatives. The irony is those abandoned elders celebrated after death by family members dressed like going to wedding. Changing funeral clothes to show off or partying into late hours, nights for days, weeks and some for months. The house painted, decorated to impress guests, plenty food or drinks provided to feed thousands. But if elder requested help for food or a medicine ignored as needy or greedy or too demanding. Fear of not burying in grand style overrules need to provide adequate care to celebrate life while alive. Needs of the elders must be compulsory academic subject taught in schools to put some sense into modern generations to teach them respect and value of senior citizens who built the nation’s they enjoy so take for granted. Volunteer must support professional medical teams and value each other. Befrienders can visit and talk to elders to keep them in their own homes than lump them together just for high profit margins at the expense of priceless lives now devalued and treated as worthless by those who do not understand God’s command with condition attached for the good of the blesser and the blessed. The government must stop punishing carers and mothers who provide 24/7 care often treated as unemployed. They provide care, manage home and work in addition but mistreated. Human life is priceless and children, women, elders pay the price for reckless policies that abandon those not considered worthy for equal treatment by privileged. Those working have limited time allowed off work to care for elders, forced, abandon them to work to pay for their rent, basic food without the essential human touch. Everyone has relative somewhere who is elderly and needs their attention and care. Others may not be aware a family extends beyond 2:4 structured family. It is not EASY to care but God’s command instructs all to value and care for elders who bear or sacrificed their life to help you. God did not say only care if they are perfect, so do it through negotiated family team appointed, well noted by all on board of care plan. Past cultures use to frown on stranger seeing ‘nakedness’ of elders but better than abandonment. If you do not provide care while elders are alive, spare yourself debt to impress your friends for grand funeral. God will not ask you how grand was their send off funeral party you organised. God will ask for souls you provided for alive, entrusted to you, believe it or not. God says your life and wellbeing depends on their care. Ethical medicine must treat them as humans not commodities for sale to lowest bid cheap services. Some carers punished “as not working” this must be reconciled to treat them well as foster carers paid for doing same jobs. Just because they are relatives or family members does not mean they do not provide excellent care. In fact the elders prefer loved ones in their last moment but work prevents them. So those who choose to fulfil God’s command to care for and value their loved ones must not be treated less than other professional carers. Elders and poor people must be valued and treated better everywhere in the whole world including deprived underprivileged in Western countries to obey God in Jesus Name.
Fast fashion is harming the planet, MPs say environmental impact of disposable clothing in perfect condition needs to be tackled urgently. Young people’s love of fast fashion is coming under scrutiny of Britain’s law-makers. MPs say fashion industry is major source of greenhouse gases overheating the planet. Discarded clothes are piling up in landfill sites and fibre fragments are flowing into the sea when clothes are washed. The retailers admit more needs to be done, but say they are already working to reduce the impact of their products.
What do MPs say?
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee says there is a basic problem with an industry that relies on persuading people to throw away good clothes because they are “last year’s colour.” Psychilogical manipulation of a person feeling left out if not wearing the latest clothing means some even wear an item only once. So do not want to be seen photgraphed or attending function in same clothes. Those who do are even mocked and laughed at by their peers. It has serious consequences because it is affecting the environment. It quotes evidence that:
- British shoppers buy far more new clothes than any nation in Europe
- People buy twice as many items of clothing as they did a decade ago
- Fish in the seas eat synthetic fibres dislodged from the washing
The MPs have written to the UK’s top fashion bosses asking how they can maintain the £28bn benefit their industry brings to the UK economy, while reducing the environmental harm. They believe swift action is essential, because if current clothes consumption continues “…they will account for more than a quarter of our total impact on climate change by 2050”, chairwoman Mary Creagh told BBC News. “Three in five garments end in landfill or incinerators within a year that’s expensive fuel! Half a million tonnes of microfibres a year enter the ocean. Doing nothing is not an option.”More clothing must be re-used or gifted
What are the solutions?
The committee’s report to government could include a call for the fashion industry to create less pollution, a demand for longer life for garments and a ban on dumping clothes in landfill. The MPs also have concerns about social impacts. They believe fast fashion is fuelling quick turnarounds among suppliers, which may lead to poor working conditions. Among their questions to retailers are:
- Do you pay the living wage and how do you ensure child labour is not used in factories?
- Do you use recycled materials?
- How long do you keep clothes, and how do you encourage recycling?
- Do you incinerate unsold or returned stock?
- How are you reducing the flow of microfibres into the sea?
The Retailers Response?
Peter Andrews, head of sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, told BBC News population growth and increased demand have led to an increase in the overall volume and environmental impact of clothing. But said members are now designing products that are made to last, and they are encouraging customers to return unwanted clothes for reuse. “We know more needs to be done, but the best answers will be achieved with collaborative global actions.” The companies approached by MPs are: M&S, Primark, Next, Arcadia, Asda, TK Maxx and HomeSense, Tesco, JD Sports Fashion, Debenhams, Sports Direct International.
Science & Environment
“Wondered what it’s like to live in poor area,” the girl from a posh part of town whispered across classroom table. Even at a small comprehensive in Yorkshire, the divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ was clear. At 10 years that time we with two older brothers living in house with mum knew exactly what it was like but said nothing. That night after school burst into angry tears on the mum’s lap. Both parents from working class back grounds: one from family where seven siblings shared two beds; the other started out in one of Leeds’s roughest estates. They grew up wanting a better future, and gradually worked their way up together to become homeowners. At
five parents split up with siblings lived full-time with mum. Suddenly became very aware of money because we just didn’t have any. Our family home was sold to pay off debts. For my mum, the life she’d spent years piecing together, moving away from the estate she grew up on, crashed down around her and it all seemed to happen overnight. The first piece of furniture in council house living room was an old sofa bed that we all crammed ourselves on, given by a kind family friend. So with little money spent evenings by candlelight when the electricity meter ran out, borrow money to top up pre paid card next morning. If
it means poverty according to standard of the time were officially living below the poverty line as a child. By today’s measures, a couple with two children need to earn at least £18,900 (£363 a week) each to achieve the minimum income standard. Since I’m one of three and mum was on her own, this means if I was growing up now and my family was in the same situation, we would still be in poverty.When 13, mum started privately renting a house on more affluent side of town, in order to send us to a good secondary school an hour’s bus journey. Mum had a new job, which helped, but she was starting over again after several years of looking after us all at home and her wages barely covered our rent, bills and food for three young kids. Renting is unstable your landlord calls the shots – so lived with constant fear of losing our home if our landlord put the rent up or decided to sell up. It was difficult at my new school, I felt like I didn’t belong at first. I had one friend who had a similar background; she was the only person who I confided everything in. Everyone else received edited versions of my life – nobody knew my uniform was bought with tokens. I dreaded the obligatory McDonald’s pit stop when we went into town, because I just couldn’t afford it.
I remember feeling upset when one of my closest school friends said she was fed up of having to ask her mum to take us places and always inviting me round to their house. She wanted to know why my mum never gave us lifts anywhere and why she was hardly ever invited to mine after school. The truth was I was embarrassed. Despite living in the ‘nice’ side of town, never had enough petrol in car, and friendsallowed round on payday, when there was food in the fridge and enough electricity on the meter. How could I tell her the truth? I imagined my friend’s parents gossiping about my family “not pulling their weight” and looking down at us. The reality was my mum didn’t invite her own friends into the house because she couldn’t afford the extra food.For a long time after leaving school, I continued to try to hide the truth about my background. I can dial my Yorkshire accent up or down depending on my audience. But, the fallout of being such a class chameleon is that I feel ashamed about not being proud of my roots. This follows me no matter where I go or what I do. And it seems I’m not alone in having grown up feeling like being from a poor background is something to be ashamed of. The number of children living in poverty is on the rise but conversely the number of kids claiming free school meals (excluding the universal infant free school meals) is in decline according to a government report. How does that work? Now, I’m ashamed to say that, despite being eligible, I never took free school meals and mum and I regularly rowed about it. I didn’t want to be shamed or, worse, pitied. I knew full well that it would have helped my mum out massively. Instead, she scrimped to put together a packed lunch or dish out the last 50 pence in her purse. Looking back, it makes me cringe. So may think I sound like an ungrateful brat who refused the help offered, just a kid who wanted to be like everyone else. As older, going to uni was something I never considered. At school, I felt like it was just assumed that most people would go but I was scared we couldn’t afford it. A teacher explained the grants and loans that were available and suddenly it seemed like a possibility. I liked studying – I dreamed of one day being a writer and my mum was really excited for me so I applied to study Journalism at Leeds Metropolitan University and got in.
I felt overwhelmed by the amount of money I could borrow from the Student Loan Company. I took loan of £24,000 to cover course and received a grant of just under £3,000 a year. Paying my loans back felt like a lifetime away, so it was easy to ignore the reality that I was getting into serious debt. It seemed like we were all on the same level in our student halls, regardless of where we’d come from. Every time holidays rolled around my new friends disappear back to their family homes or head down to London for exciting-sounding but did unpaid internships. By this point, my mum was renting a house that didn’t have a spare room. If I went back, I’d be on the sofa. I couldn’t afford to do an internship so instead I worked in the local branch of a shoe shop, selling trainers I could never afford, so I could keep paying rent on my student house.
After graduation, I got a lucky break. My shoe sales job led to a full-time role editing the company’s website at their head office in Edinburgh. I found a really cheap flat share and moved there. I was nervous about how I would pay my rent but I felt like I was, at least, making progress because I was getting away from my upbringing and all the stigma and shame that, in my mind, came with it. The sad truth, though, is that not everyone from a background like mine gets a break. A Prince’s Trust report from 2016 found 44% of young people from poorer backgrounds don’t know anyone who can help them find a job, compared to just 26% of their more advantaged peers. Anyway, if you do manage to go to uni and get a graduate job, your social class doesn’t change overnight. In fact, the advantages of other people’s privilege only become more apparent. I was so excited when I got my first job, but underlying that was a constant sense of unease that if something went wrong and I got fired or was made redundant I had no safety net. There was nothing to fall back on and that thought would often keep me awake at night.Soon after we graduated, some of my friends started buying their first flats, with help from their parents. Last year in the UK, for the lucky ones able to get on the property ladder two thirds (62%) of under-35s received help from family and friends to buy their first home. Around the same time that they were getting on the property ladder, I began earning a bigger salary than all my family members and even helped one of them to pay their rent. When my mates talked about raiding the fridge full of food when going home for Christmas, I quietly set aside money to pay for the supermarket shop and the repairs for my mum’s battered old car. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m privileged in some ways. I’m white, for a start and I know that gives me certain advantages. But, conversation to start somewhere and, with 51% of journalists being part of the 6.5% of the nation who receive private education, it’s important to listen to anyone who doesn’t fit in that statistic. You see, being poor isn’t just having no money it’s lacking a basic confidence in who you are and what you deserve. Considered self ‘lucky’ to land a graduate job rather than putting it down to having talent and working hard. When I went into my first work meeting and felt like I knew less than the guy with 10 unpaid internships under his belt. When I met a nice guy who invited me to meet his posh parents and I cancelled because I was worried about what they might think of me. These days, I make a living doing a job I love. I rent a small but cute flat share with two friends and I can even afford the odd trip to the seaside.
I make sure I always have a little pot of money to fall back on, because my only alternative is sleeping on my mum’s sofa if things slip. After years of skirting the issue, I’m finally talking openly about our situation with my mum. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to wipe tears away from daughter’s face after she’s told you how embarrassed she is of the life you’ve always worked so hard to make better for her. The real shame is neither of us will ever be able to gloss over. So do not let shame stop you to say no to free school meals and starve or not invite friends over. Life is not made up material things according to Jesus it is your heart for loving others that counts most.
This article was originally published on 2 October 2018.