I was recently on a vacation in southern Ontario. We spent some time visiting friends in the city of Sarnia. In Sarnia the old unused rail lines have been converted into walking and biking trails. The early morning weather was beautiful so I spent some time making use of the walking paths in the area. As I strolled down the tree lined pathways I got to thinking about how governments on various levels have made such things possible for the physical well being of individuals and families. I thought of our own city, Moose Jaw, and how the municipal, provincial, and federal governments have encouraged and funded the body, mind, and soul of citizens.
There are many opinions and complaints about taxation at all three levels of government but taxes do provide us with social benefits that might not otherwise be available. Through grants and tax breaks our bodies, minds, and souls are nourished in the freedoms we have in our great land.
Our bodies are made healthier by walking trails, sports facilities, and parks. In Moose Jaw we have a lot of opportunity for participating in physical fitness that are funded and maintained by taxation. God has given us life and asks us to treat and use our bodies wisely. Governments should promote and encourage a physically healthy citizenry. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God with your body.” [1 Cor 6:20]
Our minds are made healthier by libraries and schools. One of the measures of a successful culture is the educational opportunities afforded people. The pursuit of knowledge is crucial to our development as a nation and as individuals. Governments should provide opportunity for mental health and growth of the mind. “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” [Rom 14:5]
Our souls are made healthier by churches and charitable organizations. Nurturing the spiritual life contributes to an improved existence. Volunteering and financially supporting charities moves one outside the realm of self serving and into a communal life as God intended it. Governments provide tax breaks for donations to churches and charities. In fact, if you would donate $1000 to your local church you would receive a $262.00 tax credit towards your federal taxes and a $142.00 tax credit towards your provincial taxes. So if you donate a $1000 to a registered church or charity the government will give you a $404 tax credit. This is how governments support local churches and charities. Plus the municipal government does not require local churches to pay property tax. This is the way our governments support the spiritual life of our communities. ““Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second if like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”” [Matt 22:36-38]
So I encourage you to take advantage of the way we all together in this country support healthier bodies, minds, and souls.