Posted in Family, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, prayer, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

The Tax Man Cometh

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

It was from the tax guy or gal and it was waiting for me in the mailbox when I got home.  Judy is usually the mail checker but she was out of town.  I went into the house and “it” was a letter from the tax assessor’s office.  They told me they had driven by my house and they really liked it—a lot.  And, since they liked it so much, they decided it was worth more than they had previously thought.  A whole lot more.  They blessed us with a reassessment of value and the grand prize was that we got to pay more property taxes. Yay.  Well, not really but it did give me a great opportunity to learn about how much God loves me.  Here’s what happened.

If you have been here before you probably know, my day job is being a pastor. It is something that I really enjoy.  My favorite thing is sharing THE story but also sharing stories.  I love to take big truths and present them in a way that anyone can grasp them.  I think that is what Jesus did and I figure if He did it, I should too.

This past week I was sharing the story from the Bible about how four guys take this paralyzed guy to see Jesus.  When they got there, the house was stuffed with people.  There was no way they were going to get in.  They decided to take this guy up on the roof, make a hole and then lower him right in front of Jesus.  It was crazy, it was  radical, and it was different, but they believed two things.  They believed that Jesus could heal their friend and that their friend was worth the effort.  We all could use friends like that.

They began to haul this guy up the ladder to the roof.  Can you even imagine how difficult and challenging that was?  I mean how do you keep a paralyzed guy from falling off his mat while climbing a ladder?  Well, somehow they pulled it off.  When they got to the top, they began to remove the thatch first and then break apart the mud and tiles.  After they had made a hole big enough to get this guy through—they lowered him down and he landed right in front of Jesus. I bet there was more than one person who wondered what in the world was going on. I bet too some people were grumbling about tearing up a perfectly good roof to get some poor, paralyzed guy in front of Jesus. I mean if he had been some rich guy… maybe… but a nobody? And that’s what “rung my bell”.

You see to those four guys and to Jesus—this guy wasn’t a nobody—he was a somebody.  He was worth way more than a hole in the roof.  In fact, through the eyes of Jesus, every soul is incredibly valuable—including yours.  And that’s when the reassessment thing came into focus. Remember, when the tax folks drove by my house?  They liked what they saw and they increased my tax assessment.  Their assessment really only meant I get to pay more taxes.  It really doesn’t mean my house is actually worth what they said.

You see, I learned a while back that anything you or I own—our house, our car, is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. That’s the bottomline.  So, here’s the deal.  God drove by your soul, my soul and assigned a value to it—what it was worth to Him and what He was willing to pay to redeem it.  Do you know what that was?  Well, we find it in the Bible.  It says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  Get that—everlasting (as in eternal) life. God’s assessment of our value to Him was the life of His very own Son.  He allowed His Son to die on a Roman cross because He somehow counted us worth it.  He just loved us that much.

Well, the end of the story for the paralyzed guy was pretty amazing.  Jesus first calls him son—not worthless, not broken, but son. Then He forgives the guy’s sin—not what he wanted… but what he needed—and finally, He tells him to stand up, take his mat and go home.  Three seemingly impossible things. But with Jesus, as you can probably guess, nothing is really impossible. The guy jumps up, takes his mat and leaves as the crowd is standing in disbelief.  They said they have never seen anything like that—and they hadn’t. The key thing is that the guy had to not only believe, but also act on what he believed. Each one of us must do the same.  We have to believe that Jesus is Who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.  When we believe that—we are forgiven and God becomes our Father. Truth be known, I wasn’t too happy about my reassessment. However, I was glad it taught me a new way to look at how much God loves me…and you.  When we are down on ourselves, when all we can see are failures and warts, when we want to give up and quit, we are reminded that our Heavenly Father thinks we are worth a lot. You see, I’m learning that His opinion is the only one that matters. So why not claim that for yourself and take a rest in Him today.  Because you know—He’s got this.