Sunday, February 05, 2017

But Thine Own

There was an envelope in my mail box yesterday from Larry. He's a dear friend from Tennessee, a former elder at the church I was part of for thirteen years. I often ate with he and his lovely wife who passed away a number of years ago. I also taught his son, just missing teaching his daughter by a year. But it wasn't a social mail delivery. No, Larry does my taxes and has for years. He knows my finances inside and out, maybe even better than I do. Larry told me in his note that he had filed my 2016 returns electronically and I would be getting my refund in approximately three weeks. It's my largest refund ever so I am excited but part of the excitement is simply having it out of the way. I'm getting better at doing important things first. Within ten days or so, I sent in my taxes, got my driver's license renewed, ordered our Honduras-Haiti bank bottles for our school project, and in three days I will renew my passport..... ten months early! If I could keep up this pace, I would be smoking!!

Every Sunday, I am in charge of the communion service as well as the offering for the Chinese speaking part of our congregation. The communion scripture was from John 10 and talked of shepherds and sheep; I spoke about two of Jesus' seven I AM statements referring to the shepherd/sheep relationship. (I am the good shepherd; I am the gate for the sheep.) When we came to the time of giving, I referenced my pending refund from the US government. (The lovely Yanping, our usual translator as well as a CPA, has agreed to take over my finances when Larry retires!) I made the point that the IRS is not giving me a gift when my check arrives. No, they are simply refunding the money I overpaid to them. They are not doing me any favors- they are just giving back what belongs to me. And when we give to the Lord, we are simply doing the same; whatever we have is from Him. I love the old hymn penned by William Walsham How whose title mirrors the first line:
We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

How was thinking of Proverbs 19:17 in his lyrics:
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and He will reward them for what they have done.

So, I really need to amend what I said about the IRS; they are simply refunding the money I overpaid to them WHICH I RECEIVED FROM THE LORD IN THE FIRST PLACE! Whew! Now I've got it straight. In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus tells His listeners our fate is the same as the dead man who died that same night if we 'are not rich towards God.' I may need to look in the mirror- I want to wake up tomorrow!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is really quite as satisfying as an income tax refund." 

F. J. Raymond

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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