Miranda ran her fingers
through the tiny ropes of her grandson's hair which was wet with
perspiration. He had run and played all about the property until he was
ready for a drink of cool water, an easy chair and a place before the pull
of the magnetic-like television set. The grandmother had been through all
this many years ago. It was easier with her own children though. They were
with her all the time and it was possible to divert their minds away from
the mindless, banging, stumbling, bumbling, comedy characters on the boob
“Randy, do you know you
are American Indian?” Miranda asked her grandchild.
“Sure! Grandma. I
“What does that mean to
“I don't' know,
Grandma. I think it means pow-wow.” The little boy was trying to reason
through his grandmother's question.
“From somewhere way
long ago, our people learned to teach by telling stories. It was just the
way our children learned. There were many story tellers. Every clan or
group of family there was a story teller.” Miranda had the boys attention
and she lowered the volume of the televison set with the remote control
she held in her hand.
“What kind of stories
did they tell?”
“They usually told
stories about things that were important for the children to learn. There
was another person of long ago who did that, too. He was a great teacher
and was able to hold people's attention with his words.
“You aren't old enough
to have friends who wish to trick you with words but soon you will be.
This is what happened with Jesus. Some folks were trying to get him into
trouble. They asked him a trick question.
“Do we have to pay tax
to Caesar or not?” They asked.
If he said, “yes,” all
the people who hated the cruel Roman, Ceasar, (someone who is like a
president in our country) would be angry. If he said “no,” then he would
be breaking the law.
“So what do you think
Randy was past his
years in thinking ability but he was stumped by this question. He was
learning about peer pressure, already, from school. And, he knew, too,
that it was wrong to break the law. “I don't know,” Grandma.
Jesus made this an
opportunity to teach the people to be obedient to the government's laws.
“Show me a coin,” he
told them. “Whose picture is on it?” So, of course, they had to answer
him. “Caesars, of course.”
“By all means, then,
pay back Caesar's thing to Caesar, but God's things to God.”
They couldn't find
anything wrong with that answer. The money Caesar collected through taxes
paid for what the people needed such as roads, teachers, and needed
“There is a law not to
throw paper on our road. Should you obey that?”
“Oh yes! Randy raised
his eyebrows; five hundred dollars if you don't!” The boy was at the
beginning of wisdom and his grandmother smiled to see it.
“If a policeman tells
you not to cross the street and every else does it anyway, should you go
along with them or obey the policeman, even if you are the only one who
The boy rolled his eyes
and was quiet.
“What if that same
policeman said, 'Stay off the streets. Don't go outside. But if you hear
shouting and wonder what's going should you go outside to see? Wouldn't it
be better to obey the authorities who are being paid by the government to
protect you?” Miranda continued reasoning with the boy.
“Did you know our
government uses our tax money to build schools and it pays the teachers?
Think about this. If the government pays the policemen and the teachers
don't you think we should be as obedient to a teacher as to a policeman.”
What if a teacher asks
us to do something we know is not in agreement with God's teachings? What
will we do then? There was a writer of history, Will Durant, who wrote
about the early Christians. He wrote, “their highest allegiance (or
obedience) did not belong to Caesar.”
“So you see, my
precious little boy, we must be obedient, to police officers, teachers and
government authorities. However, on some things “We must obey God as ruler
rather than men.” Let's read that in the Bible and listen to our God's
voice at Acts 5:29.
“So then what does it
mean, “Pay Caesars things to Caesar?”
“Pay your taxes.”
Randy quietly commented and Miranda was touched with the boy's
“What does it mean to
pay “God's things to God?”
“Be obedient to God.”
Randy's answer was in agreement with his age.
“Good enough, my son.
Just keep that in your heart and remember God is the highest power.”