Stop Payment

by Andy Wood on April 8, 2013

in Five LV Laws, Life Currency, Love, Principle of Freedom, Turning Points

stop-paymentThese days I make a trip to the bank just about every day.  I’m on a first name basis with most of the tellers, which feels good.   And most days it’s a pretty straightforward deal – one or two deposits, mostly business.  Even a left-handed guy like me can get that right.  About the worst mistake I ever made was driving around in a cluttered truck and realizing that beneath all that clutter was a deposit I forgot to make.  For about a week.

Then came Friday.  Four deposits.  Three different accounts.  And one of those was a check I’d written to myself to deposit in our personal account.

I pulled up to the window and realized I hadn’t endorsed the check I’d written to myself, so while the probie teller waited for me patiently, I paused to do that.

I’d venture to guess there was about a six-inch gap between the deposit drawer and my truck window.  And somewhere in that six inches, as I reached for the drawer with a pile of bank bid-ness, that freshly-endorsed check was sucked away.  Weird even for the dusty plains, the drive-through lanes had formed a wind tunnel.  And the wind tunnel took my check.

My assumption:  Oh.  This is frustrating.  I’ll have to get out of the truck and pick it up off the ground.

My reality:  Y’all, it was gone.  Vaporized.  On its way to Amarillo, I suppose.  I always fuss because Amarillo gets all the rain (out here we refer to it as “moisture”).  Now they got my check.

(Did I mention Amarillo is two hours north?  If you live there and you see my check, would you please let me know?)

I looked everywhere. Under.  Around. Behind.  It was nowhere to be found.  I drove around the bank and looked everywhere.  I even drove into the back alley of the shopping center that backs up to the bank.  Nothing.

A Much Larger Problem

Now there was a much larger problem.  This wasn’t just a completely annoying and embarrassing experience.  I was legally exposed.  That endorsed check was as good as cash, and I was on the short end of the deal.

I hurried home to find out what the check number was.  I called the bank to request a stop payment on that check, only to be told by the recorder that receptionist hours were closed.  “If you know your party’s extension, you may enter it at any time.”

Extension!  She’s a probie!  She doesn’t even have a name sign yet, much less an extension!

I hurried back to the bank and caught Miss Probie just in time.  Could she please place a stop loss order on that check?

No, she said.  She didn’t have the authority to do that.  But she would leave a note for her supervisor.

Ugh.  Ugh.  Ugh.

Call it a hunch, but I decided I’d better “trust, but verify” Saturday morning.  So I drove back to the bank to talk to Teri – the experienced teller who usually sits in Miss Probie’s chair.

Had anybody left her a message about my little dilemma?

Uh, no.

Could she please do a stop payment order for me?

Of course!

Sigh of relief.

Teri the Teller filled out all the necessary paperwork and I signed it.

“Did you know that there’s a $25.00 charge for a stop payment order?”

“Yes, that’s fine,” I said.

“And did you know that someone has already paid it for you?”


“Yes. Your stop payment order has already been paid for.”

“By whom?”

“It doesn’t say.  I just have a note here that it’s paid in full.”


So if you live in Amarillo and find my check, you can just tear it up.  It’s worthless.

A Much Larger Venue

Okay, that last part didn’t really happen at the bank.  But it did happen in a much larger venue, where I was much more exposed and vulnerable, to forces much stronger than a West Texas wind vortex.

This was a check I could never cover.  A debt I could never pay. But it had my signature all over it.  It was my life.  My eternity.  And a thief had the legal right to hold me accountable for paying it.

But Somebody issued a Stop Payment Order.  At His expense.  And because He did, I am free from “the handwriting of ordinances against me” (Colossians 2:14).  My debt is paid in full, my identity is completely changed, and I am now an eternal fellow-heir with the Son of God.

That is what we refer to as “the gospel.”  It’s good news.  And it is offered freely, willingly, and graciously to anybody who will recognize their need for a savior because of their sin, and receive by faith the free gift that God offers.

You don’t have to be legally exposed anymore, and you don’t have to act as though you are.

Because Jesus Christ completely paid for the sins that gave the enemy a reason to accuse you, they now belong to Him.  And whenever the enemy points a finger at your guilt, he’s aiming it now not at you, but at the One who owns the debt.  And I think you know the outcome of that.

I left the bank Saturday relieved.  But that’s nothing compared to the load that was lifted off of me when Jesus declared my sin debt was paid in full.

It’s the ultimate Stop Payment Order.  And I’m free.

How about you?

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Martha Orlando April 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Yes!!! The ultimate stop-payment! Just loved the story you wove and the analogy you made here, Andy. Wonderful post!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Seek, and Ye Shall Find . . .

Michael "Yama" Hoyes April 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Sir, perhaps the $25 was paid for by someone like me…Jesus does ask us to be His hands and feet, does He not? Here’s what happened, perhaps on the other side of the STOP CHECK story…
My church spoke of us giving to others when they don’t expect it, and used the example of a person pulling into the drive-through at Mickey-Ds (as we call McDonalds’s) and finding out the car in front had already paid for the meal…that story has been muling around in my head for a while, and truth be told, I have done it a couple of times, but the last one was noteworthy. I ordered my meal (as my wife was away for a week and I don’t cook)…something like $7.00, so I figured I’d pay for the vehicle behind me. The “associate” told me, that will be $35 and change! Yeah, I paid for it and drove away, but couldn’t help thinking to myself that next time I feel the urge I ought to look at the size vehicle and how many occupants are present first! 🙂

Cannon Law September 23, 2018 at 1:34 pm

At least no you know what it’s like to be cheated with your identity. It’s getting more and more dangerous these days, I’ve been dealing with a few cases like that

Tyler Flood October 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Usually If you push it through in a strong manner (or have a lawyer to back you up) the problem is solved timely. But if you wait a bit longer than needed not knowing what to do, some types exposure or stealing cannot undone

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