It’s that time of year when we dutifully filled out our tax forms and send 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.
Render to Caesar…
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 Belong to God
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.
When I lobbied in the state capitol, I often heard 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 view point. All children are God’s and He gives them to families—not the state. Families are responsible for nurturing and training the children. Our children belong to God.
- “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).
- “Fathers . . .bring them [children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
- “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.
We Are Responsible to Raise and Train Them
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.
Originally written by Dorothy Karman. Dorothy and her husband, Dick, began homeschooling in 1983. They enjoyed homeschooling both their children through high school and came to realize the importance of Christian home education as a tool for discipling the next generation. They founded OCEANetwork in 1986 to encourage and equip other homeschool families and to protect their homeschool freedoms. They were also founding members of the National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership, a national organization that serves state and provincial homeschool leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In 2016 they were given the Gregg Harris award by HSLDA in recognition of their service as a couple to homeschoolers in Oregon and nationwide. Best of all, their greatest joy is found in being grandparents to four homeschooled grandchildren (so far) who are being brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.