Tuesday is tax day
and one that many look upon with dread. I suspect that many have the
same feeling as I do. I don’t despise my citizen’s duty to pay my
taxes. The problem is the complexity of tax law and the fear of
getting everything right in this obligatory report.
I’m not up to this task of such legal
complexity; such knowledge is beyond my abilities. For more than 25
years, I’ve turned to professional services. Nearly all of those
years have been in the very capable and godly hands of a man I
trust. I take solace from this very real “fear of getting it right”
because I trust the one whose hands are doing this work on my
behalf. I’ve put my life’s integrity and finances in his hands.
The fear of getting it right isn’t
confined to taxes. There’s the fear of getting it right when a
cancer patient puts their trust in the treatment plan; when the
student hands in the final exam; when the leader makes a decision;
when a man and a woman commit to marriage. There are many situations
that ignite our fears in our uncertainty if we got it right and the
potential consequences that may occur.
Whatever the situation may be, at some
point we are brought to a point outside of ourselves, a place of
trust. The trust we place in others in the various fearful moments
I’ve described is only a shadow of the place where our true trust
lies. Since we can’t get it right and master the demands and
complexity of law—whether of men, nature of God—we need professional
help. We need someone to trust who can get it right every time. This
is Jesus. This is the only way our fear moves to faith.
There are many religious truth claims
as to who “gets it right.” Only the Christian faith puts getting it
right in God’s most capable hands. Every other world view—religious
or irreligious—puts the burden of getting it right in our hands.
Jesus shows us his hands, feet and side as the one we can trust to
make it right. His body was crucified for all that is wrong and the
law condemns. His body was raised to life with the report that God
got it right for us. No other faith makes such a claim. Some
conclude: impossible, outrageous, nonsense. We believe it’s the only
alternative we have to our own flawed existence.
Unlike our tax returns, Jesus makes it
simple and clear for us. “Peace be with you,” he says. “if you
forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.” (c.f. John 20:21-23).
There’s no hidden conditions or loop holes. He makes it right.
Period. When he says, “forgiven,” it’s forgiven. When he says, “I am
the life,” we’ve got it.
Simple and clear, however, doesn’t
make it easy. It is the ongoing struggle of the skeptic within us
who imagines there must be something more. We also have this proud
spirit that says we must fight our own battles. We possess an
equally formidable critic that argues we can’t possibly get it
right. And there’s the doubter in our mind who questions whether
this is all absolutely true. In all our conflicts Jesus is reaching
out to us. The better we know him, the more distance he’ll put
between fear and faith.
My accountant’s name is Danny. He’s
not a stranger. He is a dear friend and throughout the years a
fellow partner in the word and prayer. When you’re faced with
trusting someone with your life—one who time and time again has been
faithful to get it right—you not only know his name, you remain
friends. I’m not afraid to put that tax return in the mail because I
know who put it together on my behalf.
Danny and I both have Jesus’ name, and
so do you. Danny and I call him, “friend,” and so do you. We know
that when the Day of Judgment comes and our report is due, there
will be no fear. No tax will remain unpaid, no sin will be
unforgiven, no threat of death will be held over us. Fear not, Jesus
got it right!
(c)2012 St. John's Lutheran Church and School |
505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525
See the Archives for Previous Issues