Behold, the Tax Man Cometh

            “Caspar, you haven’t touched your coffee.”

            “Oh? Oh, you’re right dear—”

            “You’re worried about something, aren’t you?”

            “What do you—”

            “I know you. You’re obsessing again. What is it this time? Your job again?”

            “My job? No, not … I mean, not exactly, it’s more—”

            “Now what does the Bible say about being anxious, Caspar? Seriously, you’d think you might apply just a little of what you pick up in my sermons once in a while. Here I am, the Senior Pastor of one of the largest churches in the city and you can’t be bothered to at least make it look like you pay attention to what I say.”

            “But dear, I do, really, I mean—”

            “So what are you worried about, then?”

            Caspar, the Senior Pastor’s husband, looked down at his hands, folded in front of his untouched coffee.

            “The tax bill,” he mumbled, somewhat ashamed.

            “The tax bill!” his wife echoed disdainfully. “How many times have I told you … we have plenty of money. We’re guaranteed to make the payment.”

            “Yes, I know dear, you’ve said so, but it’s just that I—”

            “It’s just that you what?” his wife pressed, her tone steel.

            Caspar quailed. “Well, it’s just that, I mean, we only get one chance to pay it, you know, that’s the rule, and if we’re short, well, then, we can’t hope for a second chance.”

            His wife snorted her derision. “How many times do I have to tell you? We’re just fine. Haven’t I managed our finances since we’ve been married? Have you ever lacked for anything? Haven’t I kept what you’ve made, all nice and tucked away, and told you a million times that it’s enough?”

            Caspar looked up at his strong, determined wife. She’s right, he thought. She’s told me all our married life that we’ll have enough when the tax bill comes due. After all, she was the Senior Pastor.

            “You’re right, dear, yes, I don’t know what came over me.”

            “Well just stop bothering yourself, finish your coffee, and get going. You’ll be late for work.”

            “Yes, dear.” Caspar dutifully downed his coffee, picked up his briefcase and overcoat, and headed out the door.

            Three days later, the tax bill came due for both Caspar and his wife. When the Collections Agent set out the books, it became very clear that Caspar and his wife were dreadfully, woefully in arrears and had absolutely no way of paying the amount due.

            “It’s debtor’s prison for you both,” the Collection Agent said firmly. “You knew the rules. The tax bill’s got to be paid.”

            “But … but, why do I have to go to prison?” Caspar asked. “My wife has been telling me for years that we’d be just fine! She said we had plenty of money, that we had more than enough to cover the bill!”

            “And did you ever once check on the accounts yourself?” the Collection Agent asked.

            Caspar, chagrined, looked down. “Well, actually, no, I mean, she is—or, I mean, was—the Senior Pastor at our church, and if anyone should have known we were able to pay the tax bill, it would have been her, wouldn’t it? I mean, doesn’t it seem logical? She is—I mean, was—the Senior Pastor!”

Caspar’s arguments were to no avail, and off to debtor’s prison he went, to be held there, weeping and gnashing his teeth, until he had paid the very last cent.

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