Jump Start # 2891
Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”
We have had several funerals this year. After the funeral homes, cemeteries, and the grief lifts a bit, there is the going through things. A house has to be dealt with. Clothes. Paperwork. And, from our passage, inheritance. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children—we call that grandchildren.
Here are a few thoughts I have learned:
First, it’s a blessing when a person has put some thought into this. There is still meetings, paperwork and lots of things to be done, but it sure is a whole lot easier when things are spelled out, and simplified this way. Some don’t want to think about death. Some must have the idea that they are going to take another exit ramp and avoid death. It’s not going to happen. And, one can leave things in such a mess, where no one knows where important papers are, which bank holds the lock box, and the layers of burdens can be frustrating. Don’t do that to your family. Get your house in order is what Hezekiah was told. That begins spiritually, but includes financially and letting others know where things are.
Second, inheritance can be a blessing or it can be a curse. We see the downside of it through the children of Hollywood’s stars. No responsibility, too much money, no plans and that’s all it takes for drugs, disaster and heartache. I know of at least four or five congregations that received money from estates this year. Again, that can be a blessing or a curse. People can go through money, just like eating M & M’s and there is nothing left to show for it. An inheritance can change the future for some. Paying off debt, investing, building a college fund, learning to be generous as others have been to you are some of the upsides to an inheritance.
Third, a greater blessing to our grandchildren is our legacy and walk with the Lord. A lifetime of faithfulness, a journey of trust, a period of helping others, serving the Lord, are memories and lessons that can help our grandchildren for a long time to come. As your grandchildren get older, let them see your Bible. Let them flip through and see the worn pages, the words underlined and the comments left in the column. Your old Bible has helped you and shaped you. It’s a treasure chest of your faith and heart that loves the Lord. What a blessing to pass that old Bible on to someone who will honor and treasure it.
Fourth, the memories you build now with your grandchildren will be something that will live on long after you are on the other side. I still have fond memories of my grandparents. I can hear my grandma sort of whistling as she swept the kitchen floor. She was cheerful, sweet and a blessing. When she passed, there was little that I received. But since my dad passed, I now have her diaries, pictures and lots of things I treasure dearly. Are they worth anything? Nope. But they belonged to someone I loved. More important than leaving money is leaving you in their hearts. Without a relationship, in many ways all you are doing is giving money to a stranger who happens to be in the family tree. It takes time to build those relationships, but do it the best you can.
Finally, in order for a good man to leave an inheritance to his grandchildren, he must be planning, thinking and working that way. Spending it all on self and living paycheck to paycheck will not leave anything, other than debt and a mess for someone else to clean up. I suppose the passage calls this person “good” because he’s put thought into others and not just himself. He wants to help others. The word “good” is not used very often in the Bible. Very few people are called “good.” And, here, as we often use it, it is because of what he is doing. He is a good man because he is helping others. He is making a difference.
I believe one of the greatest torches that we can pass on to the next generation is that of generosity. Kind words. A joyful spirit. A faithful life. A generous heart. Those are blessings to both the present and future generations.
A good man does more than recognize those things—he has become those and is using them to help others. This is a breath of fresh air in the stale, selfish times that we live in.