Matthew 25:44-46a - (Jesus said) "Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment...."
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a nice, sophisticated ring to it, don't you think?
It certainly sounds classier than the Internal Revenue Service. Both organizations may do much the same work, but one name just sounds so much more ... more refined.
Maybe that's why I paid attention when I read that in this year's tax returns, Her Majesty's Revenue and Custom people were going to be keeping a keen eye out for any mention of aliens. No, not the aliens who come from a different earthly nation. The HMRC was referring to little green men who come to earth in a flying saucer.
Apparently, someone had tried using the space aliens as an excuse for not being able to file their tax returns by January 31st. I suppose it's not necessary for me to tell you that the excuse was found to be entirely unacceptable.
There were other pleas and pretexts put forth by other citizens which were found to be almost as weak. Among those offerings could be listed
• "I've been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play";
• "My ex-wife left my return upstairs, and my vertigo won't let me go upstairs to get it";
• "My business doesn't really do anything";
• "I spilt coffee on it."
Along with pointing out rejected excuses for not filing your tax return on time, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs shared some business expenses which haven't been received with anything resembling acceptance and approval.
On that list of rejected business expenses would be things like luxury watches as Christmas gifts for staff from a company with no employees; pet food for a Shih Tzu "guard dog"; Armani jeans as protective clothing for a painter and a decorator, and betting slips.
Of course, not all excuses are offered to the government.
In Matthew 25, the Lord Jesus pointed out an excuse which wasn't going to work on Judgment Day. He told how He would have zero patience for anyone who thinks that he can live a totally selfish life without making any commitment to the Lord or the rest of humanity. In making His statement, the Lord wanted to make it crystal clear that anyone who has been given faith in Him will gladly and willingly respond in the way they lead their lives.
In other words, we who are needy recipients of God's grace -- as given to us through Jesus' sacrificial life, death, and resurrection -- cannot escape responding positively to others who are also in need of our help and a good Christian witness.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because Jesus first loved and gave Himself for me, help me to reflect that love to all the others with whom I come into contact. Use my witness to help them see the forgiveness and salvation Jesus wishes to give them. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Reuters Staff on January 17, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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