I know two tax men. One does my annual return, the other retired and then got ordained, and then retired again! So it can’t be that terrible a profession. But this is for all the tax men who get a bad press…
Matthew the tax man, regular, run of the mill. Tax man nothing special you might think and you’d be right. An employee of the state with an important, respected revered but rejected, the job with which he was trusted, this is true, but still a tax man and hated. The one who took the 10% or 20% or was it 40? A pusher of paper processing claims and counter claims a p60 man at the end of the year calculating percentages and margins with a desk and a case, a smart suit and a tie. A fancy car in the drive of the house in the country, with the finance to match. Life is going very well if you like that sort of thing for the man from the tax office the employee of state for HMRC. Matthew speaking? How may I help? The one at the end of the phone whom we call and love to hate – it’s the visit of the VAT man with his tables and graphs as to why were to pay more than last year, and a half.
Would we not hesitate to complain or moan to these men or women of the office of HMRC with the smallest of issues, always their fault – no wait – is it the system at fault or is it just down today? and unable to process the tax from our pay with their files and their forms and the inevitable holds off for another day and it’s Matthew at the end of the line who goes home to his own life unmoved by the rest. Matthew the tax man employee of state and a man of great principle and figures and fate. Who processed, collected, recorded and audited making sure we all paid our dues on time. He was the one, not the prayerful or kind, not prophet or preacher or prince. But a tax man, and ordinary suit wearing tax man was called, called up, and not by the bosses to manage to sit with the elite was called out of collections and moved into sales. From the office of finances to matters of heart from collecting the dues to preaching good news. From a life built on fear and retribution. From taking to giving to living and walking a new road. Why Matthew? the tax man not preaching not teaching un-skilled in the art of rhetoric speaking. Just Matthew the tax man called up from a desk. His calling confirmed because he said yes. Yes to a new life, a life on the road. No fancy cars or houses or sales perks were owed. A yes to a new way a yes to the son out of no good he came so they say and to walk the new path with those who weren’t fit in the eyes of religious elite, the toffs and the well to-do’s who scoff and complain at the tax man in the ranks of the Jesus campaign.
Who rather than money now calls all to see that deep in our soul is the place where should be that which we give up and no percentage is counted, of all that we are to the one who simply just asks us to follow and why not when without it a life can seem hollow. So the next time the Phone rings from HMRC imagine it’s Matthew round at Jesus’ house for tea.