It’s tax season. I was working on my taxes the other day and started thinking about the idea of “dependents.” The IRS allows us credits for dependents on our taxes. The idea is that the more people who are dependent on you and your money and resources, the less you should have to pay in taxes. For many years I’ve benefitted from having three children. This last year however, my youngest graduated and moved as an independent person. This of course means he no longer relies on me, he can support and care for his own needs. At least that is the way the IRS sees it.
Our culture puts a great deal of emphasis upon independence and the ability to “stand on your own two feet.” But, then I get thinking, are any of us really independent; is it even good to act like we are?
I do not grow my own food, fix my own car, carry water to my house, find my own electricity for all the devices I have that I use, but don’t really know much about. The fact is I am dependent. I am not very emotionally stable when left alone for long periods of time, nor am I able to simply listen to myself talk for too long.
I am dependent on others, dependent on creation and all that it offers, much of which I have done nothing to obtain. I am dependent on a whole bunch of people doing jobs that I don’t see or think about on a daily basis. I benefit through all their work though.
I am dependent on God. Even when I think I am standing on my own, I often have to come to the humility of recognizing I’ve been blessed with far more by grace and mercy than I have ever achieved or earned.
I think of Matthew 6:25 that reminds me of Jesus’ words:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
I am dependent. You are dependent. The earlier we learn this in life and embrace it, the earlier we can live free from the expectations and aspirations of being independent, in charge of our own lives, and having to take care of ourselves by ourselves.