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How Your Will Keeps Giving, After You’re Gone

A will or living trust allows you to protect your loved ones long after your lifetime. These documents also grant you the power to provide vital resources to causes you care deeply about—resources that organizations and institutions like the Diocese of Baton Rouge need in order to thrive.

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And, for additional information concerning Diocese of Baton Rouge Planned Giving options, please visit the “Plan My Legacy” page through the Office of Stewardship website:

Life and Taxes

finance oct2017More than a decade before his appointment as the Librarian of Congress, Daniel Boorstin wrote a book entitled The Image. Though too often overlooked as a formative study on the subject, the author’s narrative approximates prophecy. “As never before in art, it has become easy for the great, the famous, and the cliché to be synonymous,” he wrote in 1961. “The original then somehow loses its originality. The copy is far more familiar. Indeed, it is only the copy which is really popular.” It was a common image—a coin with the likeness of Tiberius Caesar—that provided Jesus a wonderful teaching opportunity, one that separated the image of a man and “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15a).

Teachers often address the story with a lesson on the subject of taxes. It’s far more. “The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?’ Knowing their malice, Jesus said, ‘Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.’ Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, ‘Whose image is this and whose inscription?’ They replied, ‘Caesar’s.’ At that he said to them, ‘Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’ When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away” (Matthew 22:15-22).

Multiple eighteenth century writers provided the familiar phrase concerning the certainty of both “death and taxes.” Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” (John 14:6), thus establishing a more profound standard altogether: the guarantee of life and taxes. In his response, he offered his listeners a set of lasting contrasts. The Roman coin, a silver denarius, offered a portrait of the living emperor Tiberius, the son of Augustus Caesar. Jesus offered the very image of the living God. The coin was stamped with an abbreviated title, identifying Caesar as divine. Jesus was, and is, King of kings and Lord of lords, the divine Son of the Most High God. Moreover, using a denarius to pay Roman taxes employed but a coin. Rendering God his due invites a commitment of the self still, as God’s children offer the Lord the transcendent image of God—themselves—for “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

And so, we pay our government its due using the coins of our contemporary realm. We honor each generation’s Caesar, paying our taxes, and paying them in full even if it means a measure of sacrifice. And, we honor God by investing ourselves fully in the work, mission and ministry of the kingdom of Christ, offering ourselves as “a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1b).  

Stewardship Today is a monthly devotional newsletter designed to assist Catholics everywhere in developing a greater understanding of the role of stewardship in everyday life.
All we are, and all we possess, are gifts from God for our use and for the blessing of others. Through wise stewardship, we invest our time, our talents and our treasures to the glory of God.

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