A: I want to assure you that God is deeply concerned about the countless millions who live in poverty today — and He commands us to be concerned, as well. Selfishness and lack of concern for others are sins in His sight, and someday we’ll pay a stiff price for our thoughtlessness. The Bible says, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” (Proverbs 29:7).
But what would happen if suddenly everyone had an equal amount of money? Would all wars and conflicts cease, and would everyone be happy? Tragically, the answer is no. Some people would still be driven by greed, constantly wanting more — and devising schemes to gain it. Others would spend their money unwisely, ending up in poverty before they realized it.
Why is this? The problem is the human heart. We are by nature selfish and sinful, and as long as this is the case, our problems will never be completely solved. The Bible says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1).
This is why our greatest need is to turn to Christ, for only He can change our hearts and plant within us a new love for others. And this can happen to you, as you open your heart and life to His transforming power. Don’t put your trust in solutions that will ultimately fail, but commit your life to Christ, and then ask Him to help you see the world and its needs through His eyes.
Q: I was disturbed by what you wrote a few weeks ago about not cheating on our taxes. I agree we have a responsibility to pay taxes and all that, but as far as I’m concerned, the government is just going to waste our money anyway, so what difference does it make if I cheat a little bit? — K.G.
A: Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if everyone had your attitude? Over time, tax revenues would go down, and even essential services would have to be cut. Eventually, taxes would have to be raised to make up for the lost revenue.
But the main reason the Bible commands us not to cheat on our taxes is because God wants us to be honest and above board in everything we do. If you cheated someone out of what you owed them, you’d rightly be branded a thief. Why is it any different if you owe money to a company or to the government?
After all, Jesus paid the taxes He owed; why should we do any less? When asked if He intended to pay a certain tax that He owed, Jesus immediately handed over the required coin (taken miraculously from a fish caught by one of His disciples). He knew it might be wasted or used in wrong ways, but that didn’t keep Him from fulfilling His obligation. He said, “Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours” (Matthew 17:27).
I can’t help but wonder, however, if the real issue you face isn’t simply taxes, but your whole attitude toward money — and toward God. Don’t let greed, or cynicism, or anything else rule your life. Instead, submit your life to Christ, who alone is worthy of your allegiance.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.