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Tax Exempt

24 Now when they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” 26 When Peter said, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are exempt.

Matthew 17:24–26

As I studied this short passage this morning, I found myself thinking of how simple and clear it was. Jesus was the Son of God so he had no requirement to pay a tax to his own Father, just as the sons of kings did not pay their father. Pretty cut and dry. The realization that hit me in the next moment, however, was a bit more complicated.

My sons paid taxes.

They were the ones that often carried the weight of my success and my schedule. I don’t know about you, but in this busy world it is often my family that is left behind. With work and serving and chores and exhaustion, my husband and my boys always seem to be the ones left to pay the taxes due at the end of the day. It is a difficult admission, but a true one. They simply do not get the best of me.

I know that is not exactly what these verses are about, but the reference to the privilege of the sons reminded me of a phrase I have often heard about my first mission field being at home. A phrase I tend to forget. I am an encouragement writer by trade and by calling. I spend my days trying to lift others and remind them they are not alone. But when I turn around, I see a family trailing behind me who would say I am not always so encouraging or uplifting. Especially when I am busy. Especially when I am tired.

Why is that? Why is it that my family is the last one in line? Why is it that it is so easy to take the time to help a stranger but harder to take the time to help those I love? Why are my sons paying the tax when they are exempt?

My family is a mission field I cannot afford to fail.

All the success in the world will not matter if they are left to fall under the weight of it. I must do better. I must lift and encourage them first. My sons (and my husband) are exempt from the tax and should not have to pay the price. I must pay attention to their hearts. I must release them from this debt they do not owe, because someone released me from one that I did.

Dear Lord, bring me the insight and wisdom I need to recognize the moments I need to rest and spend time with those you have entrusted to my love and care. Allow me the opportunity to cherish them as the gifts they really are.

VP GRAVATAR TWO 500

Shannon Leach is a slice-of-life encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.

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