Several years ago, during tax season, my husband and I learned that we owed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about $5,000 more than we’d expected. With no savings to draw from, I began to pray for an answer as to how we would be able to pay, and turned to the Bible.
I remembered a story where Jesus told Peter to get their tax money from a fish’s mouth (see
Matt. 17:24–27). This helped me realize that the provision we need isn’t limited to one person or another, but that provision is spiritual, and God is its source.
Paul the apostle shared wisdom that helped me see how naturally we can appreciate equality and balance in all things. He wrote, “I mean not that other men be eased, and ye be burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality” (II Cor. 8:13, 14). This insight is just as relevant today as it was then.
Understanding this in a practical way, I could see that the business we owned offered products and services that had value, and “by an equality” there would be a desire for those services.
Within hours, an infrequent customer called to say he was going to approve some work that cost a bit more than the $5,000 we needed. He was sending a check, but it would arrive a few days later than our due date to the IRS.
Rather than get discouraged by that timing, I continued to pray, first giving gratitude for this unexpected provision. I affirmed what is true about God’s nature as it relates to us as His children. God knows order. In fact, one definition of “economy” is “the divine plan.” If God’s plan is based on divine Principle, another name for God, then this Principle is expressing order in its precise form, never delayed or stalled.
I was able to let the issue rest, and I started preparing dinner. That evening, the customer called back to say he wanted to get the work started sooner than he’d thought, and he asked if he could expedite payment. Here was more proof that we were not alone trying to get through this. I saw this as evidence of the divine action, or Christ, providing for us completely.
When the customer’s funds cleared the bank and our check was written, I realized there was still more I needed to learn from this experience. I resented sending this money off to a government bureaucracy that didn’t know me or my family’s needs. We could use that money to pay our mortgage for the next couple of months – or better yet, to send our family on a well-deserved vacation. I saw I needed to appreciate my government more. So I held off sending the check until I really got a handle on the resentment I was feeling.
I prayed to see the purpose of government to maintain order, to benefit its citizens with opportunities for education and advancement. I cherished those freedoms, giving gratitude for all the opportunities we’d enjoyed, including those offered to my ancestors, strangers coming to a foreign land hoping for a better life. I was grateful to see how divine Love, being the source of our provision, regardless of what the need was at the time, had blessed us and our country.
This divine plan is in effect for each of us, and we can see more and more evidence of its operation as we turn to God, trusting in His love and control, rather than assigning blame for what appears to be wrong or resenting our obligations.
When it came time to send the check, I placed it in the mailbox with a deeper appreciation and love for the people who worked at all government agencies, including the IRS . Their jobs are as important to them as ours are to us, and their families just as precious.
I was sure this check, which had come about through prayer, was being released with a genuine love for everyone who would handle it – knowing the same love that placed it in my hands would place it in theirs. Whoever was at the end of that road would appreciate the funds coming in from hardworking people like ourselves. Gratitude is a complete idea from start to finish.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, once wrote, “God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896,” p. 307). Those God-given spiritual ideas not only provided what I needed but also brought about a change of heart that has since taken a tremendous weight off my shoulders each year at tax time. It’s shown me the importance of inviting God into everything.