Death, Taxes, and Jars of Olive Oil
It is a beautiful Saturday morning in France. The people are arising from their slumber and preparing for the day ahead; however, it is not like any other ordinary day. It is July 14th, a day of celebration highlighting a huge turning point in the French revolution called, Bastille Day. Bastille Day symbolizes the nations escape from tyrannical rule, into a more people based government. On July 14th 2016, in a city called Nice, amidst the beautiful fireworks, tragedy struck. A truck plowed through the Bastille Day celebrations and gunshots were fired killing about eighty four people and injuring many more. Terrorism was probably the last thing on their minds as they head out to celebrate their nations victory. This isn’t the first time France has experienced terrorism, nor the rest of the world. (CNN, 2016)
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated, “We would like to tell the French people that we will never give in. We will not give in to the terrorist threat. The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.” (PM Valls, 2016)
In this life we all faced with a multitude of challenges. As if life isn’t hard enough, we are then faced with terrorism. PM Valls stated in (The Daily Wire, 2016) “Terrorism is the new normal.” The article goes on to say that he is right unless the west does three key things.
Ben Franklin on Death and Taxes
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Our new constitution is now established and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can said to be certain except death and taxes.” (Benjamin Franklin’s letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789.)
If you turn on the news at some point in your day, I can guarantee you will hear a news story that challenges you. Stories of tragedy, death, tax evasion, climate change, political schemes, and things that alter our perception of the world and our lives. At face value things can seem quite bleak in the grandeur scheme of life. Its one thing after another isn’t it? The bad news always seems to come first, then the good news. The rate of good news seems to be on the decline.
At the risk of depressing an already depressed people, as we know there really are no guarantees in life. We are in a world where change is inevitable. We can choose to accept change, or fight it, the choice is yours. How we view life, and the events that take place, poses the biggest challenge on how we move forward as individuals and as community.
Benjamin Franklin posed the theory that there is no permanency or consistency. The only thing we can be sure of is that while we have breath, we can be certain of two things - death and taxes.
Physical, Spiritual, and Economic Death
We are a world of different cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles, so it can be difficult to find common ground. Wars are caused because of it. But, the one thing we all have in common, is that death comes to us all.
There are three types of death that we can face in this life – physical, spiritual, and economical.
If you’ve been around for any length of time you’ve lost loved ones from this earth. It can take a huge toll on a person to lose someone they value. Losing a mother at the age of fifty one tragically caused me self to question life, and what my true purpose was in the world.
Spiritual death comes when we lose our vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18
What is the purpose?
As human beings we all serve a purpose. What is that purpose?
It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose. The search. ( The Purpose Driven Life Copyright © 2002, 2011, 2012 by Rick Warren)
An atheist wrote, “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” – Bertrand Russell
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but to live as though there Is no purpose to life, is a difficult statement to hold onto.
Death by Taxes
Every year Canadians sit down to do their taxes. And of course there are the Canadians who just don’t do them. The stress at tax time can certainly initiate something like that of a myocardial infarction. It creeps up on you unannounced and squeezes the very life source out of you. According to Forbes Magazine, automobile related deaths rise about six percent on tax day more than any other day. This certainly exhibits the value we place on money in our lives. Money certainly can make life easier, but it certainly poses increasing cause for concern, when we see how unstable it can be in the economy, and the affects it can have on our wellbeing. With the cost of living rising, it is certain that at some point, we will not be able to live at all. Economical death is certainly a possibility for some.
The amount of debt Canadians now carry is at an all time high. Statistics Canada did a recent study and found that although assets were appreciating, the debt owed by Canadians were almost as much as the economy was worth itself.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. – Isaiah 61:3
If you live in Canada, the United States, or anywhere in the world you know that as a human race we can face much tragedy in our lives. 911 happened, plane crashes, or planes that have gone missing, famines in third world countries, homelessness, poverty, terrorism, sex trafficking, abuse, etc. There is much evil in the world, and it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are a victim to it.
The Small Jars of Olive Oil
There is a story of a widow, who after her husband died was left with many debts, and no money.
A man showed up at her door one day looking to collect a debt. The man could see that she had nothing left, so he agreed to take her two sons as full payment. According the law in this dispensation of time it was considered justified.
The widow, distressed, sought out a prophet named Elisha, and asked if he could help her. He asked, “What do you have in your home that you could sell?” She replied, “All I have is a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha told the woman and her sons to go to the neighbors and ask for as many empty jars as they could find, then to go home and close the doors.
“Take your small jar of oil and pour it into the empty jars.” Regardless of what little oil the widow had, she did as she was instructed. After filling most of the jars, the widow was surprised to see that the jar was not seemingly empty. She continued to fill the jars until there was nothing left in the small jar.
She then sold the jars of oil, paid her debts, and still had enough left over to live on. She knew then that God had multiplied what little she had, in response to her act of faith.
If you have faith in the small things of life, you can have faith for the bigger things in life. God created us with a measure of faith. The bible says that even a mustard seed of faith is enough to move a mountain.
You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” – Matthew 17:20
Death, Taxes, and Donald Trump
In this live we are not exempt from Death. In most cases unless you are aboriginal, or live under a different law, you are not exempt from taxes. Aside from all the bad news in the world, there is a piece of good news for those who dare to believe in a force greater than we can imagine.
Every year we celebrate Easter and Christmas. They represent the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This also represents the fact that no matter the trouble we face in this world, Jesus died to conquer sin and death, so that we might have an abundant life.
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10
In every fairy tale we watch, and any heartbreaking news story we see, it is very evident that there is good and evil in the world. Our purpose is to be a light in the darkness. Do we live in fear based on all the bad happenings in the world? Should we build walls like Donald Trump to keep people from hurting us? Or do we live courageously in the face of adversity.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Hilary said it best when she stated, “I believe the future holds far more opportunities than threats if we exercise creative and confident leadership that enables us to shape global events rather than be shaped by them.”
Margaret Mitchell from the movie Gone with the Wind read, “Death, taxes and childbirth! There's never any convenient time for any of them.” Such is life and the challenges we face.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (KJV Romans 12:2)
In a world full of death, taxes, and Donald Trump debates we need to know where we stand, not only as a nation but as individuals. The more grounded you are in yourself, what you value, and your beliefs, the better equipped you will be in handling the challenges of life. Regardless of what we believe, none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, but we are guaranteed a right now.
In the Words of Jesus & Hilary Clinton
In the words of Jesus and Hilary Clinton, lets not be shaped by the things of this world, they are only temporary in the grand scheme of things. Some may seem like grandeur issues than others; however, we can change our way of thinking, so that we can be successful in our journey through life not matter what we face.