Render to Caesar
By: Dorothy Karman

April 15th has come and gone and we have dutifully filled out our tax forms and sent our checks to the IRS. It’s hard to write those checks and let go of the money – especially when we think the government is not using the money wisely. However, as Christians, we read Matthew 22:15 – 22 and realize we have a duty to pay our taxes to the government.

When asked the question about paying taxes, Jesus asked to be shown the coin used to pay the poll-tax. He held it up for the crowd to look at and asked the Pharisees, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They answered, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”We read this, and we obediently send the government our money.

Most of us look at this story as instruction to pay our taxes, and we forget to ponder the last line of the story. Jesus goes on to say, “And [render] to God the things that are God’s.”

Our children are God’s. When I look down into their little faces, I do not see the “image and inscription” of the government. I see the likeness of God. These are not the state’s children; these are God’s children.

As I lobby in the state capitol, I often hear legislators say, “Our children are our most valuable resource,” or, “We need to make sure all our children are covered by health insurance,” or “We don’t want any of our children falling through the cracks.” Many legislators view children as belonging to the state. They view the state as both being responsible for and reaping the benefit from the children.

This is not a biblical viewpoint. All children are God’s and He gives them to families – not the state. “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3) “blessed is the man [not the state] whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm  127:5). Families are responsible for nurturing and training the children. “Fathers . . .bring them [children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). And we are to “teach [God’s word] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Our job as parents is to prepare our children for their futures. Of course, we have to prepare them to be good and productive citizens in our state and nation. But they are not just citizens of this world. They have eternal souls and we are to prepare them for an eternal citizenship in heaven.This isn’t an idle job. This is a huge responsibility.

In fact, it’s worth your life to do the job of discipling your children. As Moses was coming to the end of his ministry – the books of the Pentateuch were written, he had spoken God’s word to the people of Israel, and God had told him that the time for him to die was near – he told the people, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning your today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you indeed it is your life” (Deuteronomy 32:46 & 47) (emphasis added).

So in the clash of worldviews that takes place in the Capitol, I am not willing to yield to the idea that the children God has given families belong to the state – or that the state is responsible to raise and train these children by providing a good education and health care for them. God has given His image-bearers to parents to raise and train and be responsible for. And it is worth parents’ very lives to make sure they 
. . . render to God the things that are God’s.

Dorothy and her husband, Dick, are veteran homeschoolers and the founding members of the Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network (OCEANetwork). Both their children have graduated from homeschool high school and Dick and Dorothy are delighted grandparents of two grandsons. Even though they are no longer homeschooling, Dick still serves as Chairman of the OCEANetwork Board. Dorothy and Dick have spent many hours in Salem, the Oregon capitol, lobbying on behalf of home education freedoms.

Copyright Dorothy Karman, OCEANetwork, 17985 Falls City Road, Dallas, OR 97338. Permission to reprint in its entirety.

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