The Richest Insolvent Man In Jacksonville

Saturday, February 15, 2014

I find it easier to trust God for eternal salvation than for daily bread.

I should have know that worrying sick over my tax problem was unnecessary. I must get a perverse pleasure in black thoughts. Shame on me.

Yesterday as my daughter-in-love drove me across town to the CPA office to learn the status of my insurmountable tax problem, Helen assured me that should I lose my home, she and Donald had plans to set up a private apartment for me in their home.

All six of my children act solicitous for my well-being and security. Last week Patti & Rob, Jennifer, Fred, John and Brandon brought me a new sofa just because I’d mentioned that I slept better on a sofa. They worked together in harmony as they loaded Johnny’s truck, moved furniture and houseplants with none of the bickering or tensions that I’ve seen in other families—my kids reminded me of a line of busy ants moving seeds to the hill,all working together.

Terri cooked supper for me and Jennifer escorted me to the eye doctor to handle paperwork I could not read….

Speaking of reading, Eve came over this morning wearing the same Valentine’s Rig she wore while reading to a group of school kids:

Eve Valentine 

Eve and I discussed books as we rearranged and loaded furniture—she and Mark are driving to Atlanta to deliver an antique chest which Ginny and I had promised to give Marci years ago when she was in college.

I marvel at the intense love and respect my children show me daily.

Yet worry consumes me when I ponder daily problems.

O ye of little faith!

At the CPA office, Amy, the bright and lovely young lady who figured my taxes, presented me with a ream of forms she filed for me. Columns of numbers prove that I am insolvent and therefore I need pay no taxes this year!

This good news about my poverty struck me so hard I batted back tears and trembled.

Thank God I’m insolvent. Had I been solvent, taxes could have wiped me out.

Funny. I don’t feel poor.

I wear clean clothes and shoes that hardly hurt my feet. I’ve never missed a meal. I have a home and garden which please me. All my current bills are paid. I am loved and respected by many people. And I’d bet that Bill Gates did not enjoy his dinner last night any more than I enjoyed mine.

I’m the wealthiest insolvent man in Jacksonville.

Of course I miss my beloved Ginny and wish she were here to enjoy this prosperity. She stuck with me as we faced terrible awful horrible times together in former years.

Ms Amy gently led me through the morass of government forms that she had filled out for me and she assured me that I’ve no cause for worry. I’ve been worried sick because of my lack of understanding the ways of the IRS—I don’t own anything they’d want to confiscate.

Outside the office after I’d signed the forms, Helen let me compose myself smoking my pipe and trembling in relief as she showed me some glass and copper plaques salvaged form an 1880s theater. She plans to incorporate them into an art project at her gallery—and we talked about her trip to Scotland for more glass art classes next month.

Helen reminds me so much of Ginny; she also laughs at my jokes too.

Even as we talked, anxiety about taxes seeped away from my shoulders, ideas began to come to me about writing projects I’ve been surface contemplating. I feel freed to concentrate on my work now.

Then as Helen and I enjoyed lunch at Famous Amos, I thought about taxes and poverty and faith and fish.

Right after Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, in Capernaum, tax collectors buttonholed Peter about paying a Temple tax.

Peter worried.

Jesus told him, “Go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee”.

Fish eat shiny things.

Go to any bait shop and look at bright lures that gleam and shimmer.

So it’s not too unusual for a fish to snap up a coin dropped overboard.

Many Christians believe that Peter obeyed Jesus and caught a miracle fish with a shiny drachma in its mouth.

I suspect that Jesus was pulling Peter’s leg as a joke.

Does God ever produce tax money out of thin air or from a fish’s mouth?

Isn’t that far-fetched?

As far fetched as my getting off the hook through my being poor—the very reason that has had me so worried.


• Please, visit my website for more and feel free to look over and buy one of my books, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vanilla
    Feb 15, 2014 @ 10:44:05

    You are blessed abundantly!

  2. Amy Boyle
    Feb 16, 2014 @ 18:05:15

    Mr. Cowart,

    I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with you and Helen on Friday. Your kind words mean more than you can imagine!