Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23

Matthew 13:1-9;18-23

A couple of weeks ago, I came home from work and Lori mentioned there was a message on the phone from CRA – the Canada Revenue Agency. They are responsible for the federal government’s taxes. I listened to the phone message. It stated that I had an unpaid tax bill. I needed to call the number provided immediately to avoid CRA taking legal action against me.

I was shocked. I’ve been keeping up with my taxes. So I checked the number. It had a 613 area code. Well we used to live in that area code – Ottawa. So I reasoned that this must be legit. I called the number. It was answered by a gentlemen who identified himself as a CRA officer.

He claimed he worked for the CRA audit department. They had reviewed my taxes from 2008 to 2013 and discovered some unreported income. He said that if I did not agree to pay the outstanding balance immediately, CRA would initiate legal action against me for providing false and misleading information. He also claimed that they had sent a letter to my previous address which had returned to them.

Well, we had moved 3 years ago and I might have missed something in a past return. So I continued the conversation. He asked me, “sir, do you want to resolve this or shall I hand this over to our legal department?” I requested that he send me a copy of the letter first. He said, “no, the letter has been returned and it’s too late for that. You need to pay now. “

At this point, I began to get suspicious. So I asked him for some information about himself. He was ready with a whole list of info. He had a CRA badge number BS9906 and it was case number 32996. Then I asked “what is your name.” He had an accent that sounded like it was from South Asia – India, Pakistan. But he identified himself as Officer Frank Jefferson. That’s not a common Indian or Pakistani name. But he didn’t want to stay there too long. He got back to my need for payment.

“Sir do you want to settle this or do we need a lawyer?”

“I’d like to resolve it,” I said.

“Do you have the cash on you right now?”

“No, I don’t have the cash on me right now?”

“Well you need to get it now sir. Here are you payment options. You can pay through Western Union or
iTunes.” So CRA is now using Western Union or iTunes. Then he asked if this number was my cell phone or home
phone. That was it. I was done. No more talking. Sir, sir, if you hang up this call, we will initiate legal action against
you.” Click.

I immediately looked up Tax scams and found information on the CRA website describing an approach exactly
like this. Yet my blood was boiling first at being accused of something I didn’t do and then having to fend off all the
pressure tactics. This person identified themselves as a CRA officer. But upon further scrutiny, it became clearer that he lied .

People can misrepresent themselves on the phone, on their resumes, online and in person. This can happen
with people who call themselves Christians. Anyone can claim to be a Christ follower. But how do you really know?
What indicates the true spiritual life of a person? Today, Jesus will show us. Jesus’ parable of the sower reveals the
only legitimate response to God’s Word that demonstrates true spiritual life.