Posted by George Morrison

In an earlier era Castor Oil was deemed to be the panacea for all ills – at least those of the sore stomach variety. It tasted foul! But in those days this was evidence that it would do you good. “If it’s not hurting it’s not working” was the notion. The Castor Oil bottle was the most dreaded item in the medicine cupboard but it had one virtue – it worked! Following our years of profligacy, the Government has prescribed a dose of NAMA as the cure for our financial ills. It will not taste good. “No gain without pain” appears to be the appropriate slogan. The anticipation of it has sent the Government ratings down to an all time low and the naive media men wonder how this could be! The balancing act is due to begin in the middle of the month. On the one hand there has to be a realistic valuation of the loans made on foot of grossly overvalued assets; a valuation which will not put the taxpayer in hock for generations to come. On the other hand if the value of these assets is too low the banks will fail, business will grind to a halt, the International Monetary Fund will take over and we will become the serfs of Europe. In Bible times, Israel was under Roman occupation, taxes were heavy and unjustly applied. The Pharisees and the Herodians who were the religious separatists and politicians of their day, questioned Jesus on the vexed question of paying tax to Caesar. “Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” they asked. It was a loaded question. If Jesus answered “Pay your taxes” he would have been unpopular with the people. If he answered “Do not pay your taxes” he would have been in trouble with the Roman authorities. What would Jesus do? Jesus asked them to bring him a denarius – a Roman coin worth approximately a day’s wages – and asked, “whose likeness is this on the coin?” “Caesar’s they replied. Jesus said, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Jesus had two worlds in view. The one we call the “real” world where we have to pay taxes and bail out bad banks and the Kingdom of God. The question for you and me is “who is in God’s likeness?” The Bible says we are created in his image. The implication for us today is that we are to give our lives to God, who made us in his likeness, to live for him under his rule. Jesus invitation remains open today: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”