It has been said that there are two things that are in certain- death and taxes. They are inevitable. You can count on it. Can’t avoid them.

Taxes are an integral part of daily life. Sales tax is added every time you buy a hamburger or pair of shoes. Rent a hotel room or car and there is an additional amount added. I you are a homeowner, annual property tax bills arrive in the fall. Social Security taxes are deducted from your income.

Then there are the federal and state income taxes. We are just four days away from the deadline for filing those tax returns. It is a dreaded but necessary (?) part of life.

As with taxes, death is also unavoidable. At least the last time I checked that was the case. Country music legend Hank Williams said it sixty years ago, “No matter how I struggle and strive, I’ll never get out of this world alive.” Ironically the recording was the last single to be released during Williams’ lifetime. He died of a heart attack at the age of 29 in the backseat of his powder blue 1952 Cadillac in the early hours of New Years Day 1953. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart posthumously later that month.

Taxes and death have some similarities. There are both positive and negative aspects to each. Both have deadlines. Taxes are due at the point of sale, income cycle, or some established date. There is not a lot of room for negotiation. Although not as certain as taxes, the Bible says that “People are destined to die once and then face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). I don’t believe that this “deadline” (no pun intended) is as definite as the April 15 date mandated by the IRS for filing income taxes, but life on this earth will come to an end for all persons at some point in time.

While there are reasons to dread both taxes and death, there are also benefits to both. Your attitude toward them depends on whether you focus on what you lose or what you gain. Schools, roads, police and fire protection, public utilities, supplemental retirement income, and sometimes football stadiums are funded through taxes. While they can become burdensome, we enjoy and expect the benefits that taxes provide. We Christians believe that there is life after death and it is without the troubles and trials of earthly existence.

Another thing that death and taxes have in common is the fact that although you cannot avoid them, you can prepare for them and that takes some of the sting away. We are given instructions to help in our preparations. The instructions from the Bible on how to prepare for death may not always be easy to understand, but it is much simpler than what the Internal Revenue Service offers on how to complete your income tax forms.

There is a whole lot more that could be said about death and taxes, but I have to get back to completing my Form 1040 before next Monday.

Jamie Jenkins

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