Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. [1 Peter 1: 3b-4 (NLT)]
My husband and I joke that our retirement years are a wonderful opportunity to spend our children’s inheritance. While that may be partially true, wanting to be good stewards of our financial blessings in both life and death, we’ve done some estate planning to make sure our assets will be distributed the way we wish to our chosen heirs. It was suggested that our end goal should be to have everyone in the family still speaking to one another once all is said and done. Unfortunately, many people neglect to plan ahead for what we all know will happen. Their families end up squabbling over money and who gets Uncle Joe’s war memorabilia or Grandma’s ring and, by the time everything is resolved, no one is speaking to anyone. Money rarely brings out the best in any of us.
Other than our financial assets (or debts, as the case may be) and a few possessions, what do we really leave to our children? Certainly financial wealth is not the only legacy about which we should be concerned. What kind of spiritual estate planning have we done? With our spiritual bequests, unlike our financial ones, quality is far more important than quantity. Good memories, an example of Christian living, wisdom, morals, love and good will are all more important than money or property. If I can leave my children with humility, confidence, hope, self-respect, the ability to laugh at themselves, and the desire to give and serve, I’ll have given them far more than money can buy. I can’t, however, give them faith; that’s something they’ll have to find for themselves. I laid the groundwork by raising them as Christians but they’re adults now—the choices they make are theirs alone. I can give them my prayers, good example, guidance, and love but they’ll have to do the rest on their own.
Heavenly Father, we give you our children—our heirs—and pray that they will also become your heirs—heirs to the richness of your kingdom and glory.
I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian Religion. If they had that and I had not given them one shilling they would have been rich; and if they had not that and I had given them all the world, they would be poor. [Patrick Henry]