Leaving an Inheritance
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
I was recently the recipient of an inheritance. My first.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012 my mother, Delores McCranie, passed away while vacationing at Myrtle Beach. We knew, for the last couple of years, that she was in declining health but her sudden death caught us all by surprise. She closed her eyes at the beach listening to the sounds of the waves, feeling the heat of the sun on her skin and the smell of salt in the ocean air and quietly passed into eternity leaving all her earthly possessions behind.
Over the next month or so her will was probated, her life insurance redeemed, her bank accounts closed, her final bills paid and her estate settled. And what was left became the inheritance my mother left to me and my brother.
Now don’t get me wrong, the inheritance I received from my mother’s estate was a great financial blessing. We paid off our mortgage, gave money to our children, remodeled our kitchen and became, for the first time in my 35 years of marriage, debt free.
But as wonderful as those blessings were, they are temporary at best. You see, what my mother left me I will someday leave to my children. When I close my eyes for the last time they will probate my will, pay my bills, close out my accounts and divvy among themselves what is left. That will be their inheritance. And when they die they will pass their inheritance on to their children and then on to their children’s children— and the cycle just goes on and on and on.
In our culture, we pass on to our children houses and money and toys. All the stuff we spend our life accumulating but never having the time to enjoy. And, if we consider ourselves good parents, we will strive to leave them more than our parents left us. Why? So our children can enjoy the life we were not able to and we can rest easy in our graves knowing we left them better off in the beginning of their lives than we were at the onset of ours.
But what an incredible short-sighted view of parental responsibility and the blessings of an inheritance.
All that my parents left me could only be used or spent in this life, the life of today, the temporary life of the here and now. But no inheritance was left regarding the real life, the life after death, the life that never ends, our eternal life with the Lord. All the trinkets and toys of this life will someday pass away and be left to another and we will enter the Kingdom empty handed having nothing to show from the lives that have gone on before us. This is not a true inheritance. It is simply the passing of wealth from one generation to another. There has to be more we can leave to our children that this.
Jesus spoke of these things when He said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 1
My desire is to leave you, my children and grandchildren, an inheritance that will last a lifetime and reap, not just temporary financial blessings, but eternal ones as well. My joy would be to be able to impart to you some of the wisdom I have gained from the many lessons I have learned walking with our Lord and to help you not make the same foolish mistakes I have made. After all, there is no need for us both to step on the same landmine. If it blew me up, then you would do well to walk in another direction.
Consider this book my inheritance to you— and to your children. And rest assured, you will also get all my stuff, the standard inheritance stuff, when I leave this body and have no more use of houses or money or toys. For you, it will be the best of both worlds.
As Solomon said, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”2 And I want, with all my being, to be that good man that leaves a lasting inheritance to each of you and to your children.
My prayer is that what He is able to accomplish through you will eclipse the small things He was able to accomplish through me.
So, let’s begin.
1. Matthew 6:19-21
2. Proverbs 13:22