My wife’s parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past weekend. The only gift that could do justice to this milestone was life. Both their life and the life born out of their relationship. The gift was children, in-law children, grandchildren, and a pending great grandchild. We celebrated by spending the day together and eating out.
Parents provide for their children. They pay the bill when going out to eat. This dynamic changes the longer parents have been retired. Adult children often have better means to provide for their parents than the parents for the children. My in-laws see their ability to pay the dinner bill as a deep expression of love. If they do not, somehow their love is voided. It’s a beautiful fault for gracious and loving people.
They are much more comfortable giving to their children than receiving. This is not my issue. I look forward to the day my children are able to pay a dinner bill. Not because I am a cheapskate or that I want revenge. When they are able to pay it will mean they are employed, doing well and somewhat secure. Most of all, I never want to deny them the ability to show their love.
This morning Peter asks Jesus about paying the Temple tax. Jesus asks Peter, “From whom do kings collect tribute, their children or others?” When Peter says from others, Jesus declares, “The children are free.” God is like a parent who provides for children. It’s how God shows love.
I invite you to consider whether you allow people the ability to show their appreciation for you? Then consider how you show your love for God? Is it a tax payment or given like it was received, freely and out of love? (Mt. 17:24-27)