Friday, October 21, 2016

The Accounting

My ability to keep up with my finances is suspect; so is my ability to watch what I say. At some point in time, both of those areas in my life will be addressed. The following is from December 29, 2006.

The New Year is upon us. With only fifty-some hours until the calendar rolls into January, it was time for me to start balancing my checkbook. To be truthful, balancing is a bit deceptive. I never really get it to that level of exactness. Every time I make a deposit, the nice tellers at Washington Mutual give me a computer printout which tells me my current balance so I don't feel the necessity to update on a monthly basis. When I departed Houston for two weeks with my parents, I threw all my cancelled checks/monthly statements, still in their unopened envelopes, into a carry-on bag. This afternoon, as I began to piece the puzzle together, I discovered that I had only found eight of the eleven bank communications, not including December. Still, with the aid of Washington Mutual's 1-800 automated system, I could access the checks which had cleared. But, there is one check I can't account for in October. There is a numbering mistake in the sequence in my checkbook which must be the missing check. The electronic phone system doesn't go back that far but I know who the check was written to and the dollar amount inked in both letters and numerals. This check is vital because it was a charitable donation and I need to list it when my taxes are sent to the IRS. Every penny counts when you try to be a good steward and have money refunded by the federal government. My hope is that when I get back home in six days, I can find either another envelope of checks with a statement or at least the receipt from the organization, Mission Lazarus. A messy apartment is a problem waiting to develop.

It's just one check. How hard is it to keep up with just one slip of paper? But, it's my responsibility to account for it. As I went line-by-line through my checkbook several hours ago, I revisited the financial record of my year. It brought to mind the purchases, bills, and obligations that shaped my economic fortunes of the past twelve months. I was pretty accurate in keeping up with my recording of transactions...but that isn't quite good enough. Something is still unaccounted for. The Bible provides several strong statements in regards to accountability. In Matthew 12:36, Jesus tells us,
"that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken."
We also read this warning in the thirteenth verse of Hebrews chapter four:
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

Pretty close might get me through my checkbook/tax issues but a much higher standard than the April 15th variety awaits me when the bank statements no longer appear in my mail box. I am reasonably certain I can't account for everything I have ever done, everything I've said. There is also no hope that the Lord's ledger, like mine, is missing an entry or two. The great news is that our judge/auditor in his great mercy can override our blunders:
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him..." (Psalm 32:1, 2a)

I may never find that check but in the long run, it won't matter much. Balancing my checkbook is inconsequential. Balancing my account in the Book Of Life is the only audit that matters for eternity.

Applicable quote of the day:
"We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs."
Gloria Steinem

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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