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Stories Just For Children
by Donna Flood
Think Before You Answer

    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 tube.

    “Randy, do you know you are American Indian?”  Miranda asked her grandchild.

    “Sure! Grandma. I know.”

    “What does that mean to you?”

    “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 he said?”

    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 laws.   

    “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 doesn't.”

    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 understanding.

    “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.”

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