By Scot Thigpen
T-A-X CODE of 2018 (and Beyond)
Fellow citizens. This tax code benefits everybody. This I know. Not the code that recently came from Washington, D.C. I’m talking about the one that came from Bethlehem a couple thousand years ago. The beginning of a new year is a great time to implement this T-A-X code afresh. There are no taxes or penalties for not abiding by it, but the world sure will be a better place if all of its citizens would comply.
Treat others as you would have them treat you. This is the Golden Rule and what Jesus said was the greatest commandment. Envision what would happen if this code was followed by everyone. As with income tax, you are only responsible for yours. You can’t make anybody else comply but you sure can follow the code yourself. And if you do, the world will be a better place and others will benefit from you following the T-A-X code.
Be in awe of God this year. One of the greatest gifts I received last year was a book titled Awe by Paul Tripp. This is a quote from its advertisement: “Helping us kindle an ever-growing passion for God’s glory, this book reminds us of the importance of awe for shaping everything we chose, decide, think, desire, say, and do.” I remember being more intentional about being in awe of God as I went through my day. It made a profound impact on my life and I think it will for yours as well. We need a code that will shape those things on a daily basis. I highly recommend it.
In a nutshell, love more. Love never fails. We are all familiar with Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he says that these three things abide—faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. Dig into that section of the T-A-X code again and respond in ways that testify to these characteristics: “Love is patient, love is kind, love doesn’t envy, love doesn’t boast, is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
We have all seen this “XOXO” symbol so it is an easy reminder of the last component of the T-A-X code. It has evolved to mean sincerity, hugs and kisses, love, etc. It is seen at the end of many text messages, social media posts, etc. Did you know that it originated back in the Middle Ages when a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to mean sincerity, faith, and honesty? A kiss was then placed upon the cross by the signer as a display of their sworn oath. What if every interaction you had in 2018 was that of love, rooted in sincere faith and honesty? Do you think the world would be a better place? I certainly do.
I don’t know how the new income tax code is going to work. I hope it benefits everybody. Time will tell. I am, however, 100% confident that this T-A-X Code from Bethlehem will continue to transform lives, families, and communities. As citizens of the Kingdom of God, this is our T-A-X Code. God gives us His grace and power to follow it for His glory. Have a great 2018 as you “Live Your Life” by following the T-A-X code.
Scot Thigpen is president of The Thigpen Group, a Wealth Advisory Firm in Jackson, MS. He is married to the former Kimberly Inkster and they are parents of two sons and attend Christ United Methodist Church. Contact Scot at firstname.lastname@example.org.