The inheritance we leave our children is of great significance. We have the ability to make a lasting impact on future generations based on what we leave behind for both our natural and our spiritual children.
One definition of inheritance… a birthright or endowment, often in the form of goods or land, passed down from one generation to another.¹
It’s important we plan for our children’s future and leave them with an inheritance. We begin a heritage that honors the biblical principle: leave something of value to our children’s children.
Don’t lose hope if you think you didn’t start preparing soon enough. The only time it is too late to leave an inheritance is after you’ve taken your last breath. You’re still breathing, so you still have the opportunity to leave a legacy. Start now. Wherever you are with whatever you have. God has a powerful way of making up for lost time.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice. — Proverbs 13:22-23 ESV
Yes, it’s important we leave our children with wealth, but I’m not defining wealth in terms of mere money. I’m defining wealth in terms of the legacy we desire to leave for our children.
What good does it do to leave money if it sweeps children into a false sense of security? What if that money leads them into sin? Greed. Fear. Strife. Idolatry.
How many of us have known or seen individuals on the receiving end of an inheritance before they had the spiritual maturity to handle the responsibility?
It looks like those people who win the lottery and soon thereafter lose their windfall. Like the wind, their prosperity is fleeting.
It looks like one of those famous people who end up falling in a pit, because they have no foundation laid for financial stewardship.
It looks like individuals who place a higher value on money than people.
It looks like the rich young ruler who treasures his money more than God and God’s purposes for his life. (See Luke 18:18-30)
It looks like those people who feel they are self-sufficient. Thus, they don’t ever consider surrendering to Christ.
If we’re not careful, we leave our children with money and possessions without knowing how to handle them. When we do, the fruit from the toil of our hands can be swept away. So too our children.
Consider the often-cited example from Scripture. The prodigal son wasted his inheritance and ran back to his father empty handed. (See Luke 15:11-32) Not only did he spend his entire inheritance, he himself was spent. He left his father’s house, pockets full. He came back filthy from sin and eating with pigs.
We don’t want that fate for our children. We need to teach them what’s of most value and how to be responsible with what they have been given. We want for them more than what is good. We want for them what is best.
I wonder how many of us miss what is most imperative in pursuit of what we think will help our children later in life, once we’re gone. The possessions we pass on are fleeting and not of any eternal significance. They’re good, not best. We’re leaving an inheritance subject to consumption – first by them and then to rust and decay. Items deteriorate and might even lead to destruction unintentionally breeding greed, fear, and lack if we’re not careful.
What are the things we want our children to value most?
I think that is the crucial question we can ask ourselves as parents. The values we teach our children are the inheritance only we can leave them.
What do we want our children to value most?
We started with the definition of inheritance, but I left off part of the meaning. Here’s the definition in its entirety… a birthright or endowment, often in the form of goods or land, passed down from one generation to another. Scripture treats eternal life and other privileges of faith as an inheritance from God.¹
What if we leave our children an inheritance that won’t perish?
What if we leave them a legacy of faith that will never burn up and be consumed?
What would that look like?
- Our children would see our love of Christ and love Him too.
- Our children would see us strengthened, standing strong in our faith. As a result they would know they can do the same.
- Our children would see the hope we have in Christ and passionately pursue His hopes for their lives as well.
- Our children would see us acting in a manner of high integrity and character. Through modeling we leave them a blueprint to follow in a world where that is not always easy.
- Our children would see what we treasure most. They wouldn’t be taught to store up earthly treasure in exchange for their eternal treasure.
- Our children would be the benefactors of every prayer we lifted up to God on their behalf.
It’s important we plan for our children’s future and leave them with a strong sense of what we value most … so they will too. We can establish an inheritance for our children’s children. That’s a beautiful legacy that will last an eternity.
What do you want your children to know you value most so they will too?
QUESTIONS & ACTIONS
- Make a list of what you want your children and grandchildren to value most. (Both natural and spiritual children God has placed in your care)
- Write out a prayer for your children that reflects these values. Date it and watch God work in a mighty way to create a beautiful inheritance based on your faithful prayers.
¹ Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.
About the author: Tracy Stella is a Christ-follower on the journey of life, seeking to see God and His will for her fulfilled on this great adventure. She feels compelled to share the story of God’s hand in her life with the hope that readers will search for and see God at work in their own lives. Jesus writes the greatest story of all. It’s called Redemption for those who are willing to surrender to His love and leading. I pray God continues to write a glorious story in each of your lives. Amen.
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