An Unpayable Bill

January 4, 2017
Volume 22, Number 1

Let me warn you: This is an Erie story. Before sticklers for precise spelling begin screaming let me assure you that I know how to spell the word that means “strange” or “weird”: that would be eerie, and it’s not capitalized. The story to which I’m about to refer happened in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Mary Horomanski nearly fainted when she opened her electric bill last month, according to a story carried by the Associated Press. The amount due was more than $284 billion dollars. She was not relieved when she saw that she had until November 2018 to pay the minimum amount, $28,156. Her first thought was that someone had connected their Christmas lights wrong.

The electric company was contacted, and they saw that an error had been made. The decimal point had been misplaced, and Mary’s bill was actually $284.46. Though the story doesn’t say it, we imagine Mary was greatly relieved.

I’ve seen several other stories like this one. A computer glitch leads to someone receiving an astronomically large bill that is completely unpayable. In time those glitches are worked out, and the enormous debt is trimmed to something manageable.

What if God sent us a bill? What would be on His invoice? Paul suggested some possibilities in his sermon to the philosophers in Athens, Greece: “Nor is [God] worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). A few verses later Paul listed more billable items: “For in Him we live and move and have our being …” (Acts 17:28).

How valuable are those items to us? Life, breath, the ability to move. Most of us would agree that those are pretty much priceless. Every day bank accounts are emptied of life savings in an attempt to restore good health. But when was the last time God sent you a bill for such unpayable debts?

And what about that greatest debt of all – our sins? Every sin is a violation of Heaven’s laws. It’s like we’re handed a citation for each sin that reads, “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23). The only way we can pay for our own sins is by forfeiting our lives. That’s a price we don’t want to pay.

That wasn’t the end of that verse, however; Paul continued: “… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If you wonder how that can be, here’s another verse to contemplate: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). God’s grace: It has paid our unpayable bill.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2018, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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