What Will You Leave
“A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children...,” (Proverbs 13:22).
If you are so blessed as to have children there will come the day, providing the normal and expected process of life applies to you, when you will leave your children. You will have lived, worked, provided, given, guided and loved, but finished your association with them. Will you leave them money, property, a business, farms, etc.? A parent has not done nearly enough if all he leaves his children are material things.
We should concern ourselves about leaving them something that will endure when all the treasures of earth will have perished, as they must. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-2 1). We must leave them something to help them in life and prepare them to die and meet God in judgment, which we all must do.
We need to leave them that which will outlive us, and even them, and can be passed on to your children’s children. It is not a question whether we will leave our children. We will. And we will leave everything. As a man asked upon the death of a very wealthy man, “How much did he leave?” The answer is, “He left it all.” The question is what shall we leave them. We provide for them in this life as is our duty. But does it stop with our death? First Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Much more needs to be provided than the material and physical needs of life.
A Faith to Live By
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him...,” Faith provides hope, guidance, forgiveness, security, purpose in life and dignity. To neglect providing opportunity for your children to believe is the worst sort of neglect and is to sin against the child. There is only one faith (Ephesians 4:5), THE faith, the faith of Christ. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Leave your children a faith founded on God’s Word.
A Deep Love For The Word
Closely akin to providing a faith, help them develop a deep and sincere love and commitment to the Word of God. This, as noted, is the source of our faith (Romans 10:17). Ephesians 6:4, "...but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” Proverbs 22:6. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Psalm 199:97, “0, how love I thy law...” Biblical illiteracy is rampant in our world, even among members of the church. Much fault lies in homes where efforts to teach the children the message of the Bible are not being made. We see parents urging them to learn and develop in so many things, lesser things, that have their place. But what of the most important knowledge of all?
Priorities, Values, Morals, Standards, Goals, Duty
The virtues of the title of this section do not just happen to come into one’s possession. We are not born with the proper virtues and attitudes. We have to learn them. Whose responsibility is it to see that your children learn what is right in these areas? You know it is your duty toward them.
Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep his commandments. for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment , with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness...."
They must learn personal responsibility and accountability before God. They have obligations that only they can discharge. Should we allow them to think life is solely for selfish gain, or for service to God and others? While they must mature to make their own decisions, we must provide them the basis upon which wise decisions can be made. They must respect the value of their soul. Matthew 16:20, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall he give in exchange for his soul." From parents children must learn what is the true measure of success. Will you leave that correct measure with them?
A Good Example
Paul wrote, First Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Christ is our ultimate example (First Peter 2:21). We cannot train our children only with words, but also deeds. We must demonstrate truth, morality, honesty, industry, worship, love and all the Christlike virtues. They will remember more your example than your words. What you really were will stay with them more than what you have said, even though your words are also important.
The problem many young people have is that they cannot get over the bad example set before them by parents. Therefore, there results confusion, frustration and disappointment created when they hear one thing from parents, but see something in their lives quite contrary to it. You will not be the perfect parent, but you can be a good example and show the right path by deeds. We say children need role models, and well they do. Parents should be the number one role models. You cannot lead where you will not go.
A Good Name
Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.” What will be your reputation? Will you have so lived as to smear the family name with stains and shame that they will have to bear all their lives? Or will they be provided something for which to live, something to admire, something for which to strive themselves?
Will they have something to live up to, or something to live down? What we do affects us, but far more than ourselves for the present. It affects oncoming generations. The difference between character and reputation is well known. Nobody can mar our character but ourselves. But we can also mar our reputations. We should strive to live so that when we leave our children we have not blemished either one.
Good Memories of Home
We should make our home an environment of kindness, comfort, a haven of encouragement, where everyone is challenged to do their best and be their best. Especially is this essential in the formative years of our children. We must think about what we shall leave our children long before the time approaches that we must leave. We must start early.
Our homes must manifest love, security, fidelity, discipline and correction which reflects care. One of greatest gifts a father and mother can provide for their children is their love for each other. Homes must be places where acceptance is evident, even as improvement is needed. Let there be joy in the home.
Some homes are battlegrounds where there is abuse, loud and hostile words, ridicule and anger. We have heard it often, “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” It need not be a mansion, but it is a relationship of each family member to the other where the will of the Lord rules and reigns and everyone is committed to Him.
Home is where everybody counts, everybody is respected, where forgiveness is offered, and where, “I’m sorry”, may often be heard because it is needful. The primary duty of parents is to provide such things for their children. Guidance, advice, counsel and even rebuke are all vital elements in considering what we shall leave them.
Are You a Faithful Christian?
Many children have never known a Christian father or mother. They do not know the blessings of a home where Christ is King. They are deprived of knowing by experience what God intends every child to know and have. Children need to have the knowledge that parents respected the authority of God, loved the Lord, obeyed His will, worshipped Him, lived like Christ, valued His church, knew the soul is precious and is to be saved from sin. There is more to life than the here and now. There is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain. Your children need to have the assurance of comfort that comes from hope that can be their own when they belong to the Christ, like you belong to Christ.
The Final Time
There will be the hour, the final hour, when your children shall view your physical body for the last time. Then, possibly more than ever before, will the importance of heritage have meaning for them. You will have transmitted something to them, and they will have acquired from you a legacy. What kind of legacy will you have provided your loved ones? I think of this often, and more often as the years pass by. It is important. I know how important it has been to me regarding my own parents. Doubtless, many readers of these words know first hand of that which I write.
Many people are concerned about how much money their children may get from them as heirs. That may be all right, but dare we neglect the greater matters?
The inheritance of my children depends on what I am doing now. When they pass before my coffin, look upon my face, think about me and my time with them, will they know I have considered these things, thought of each of them, and included them in my daily prayers as the cherished persons they are? Will they take my body to the grave and be able to thank God that I left them what matters?
God has provided for His children an “inheritance incorruptible, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven....” Let us leave our children the hope of that inheritance.
1. Have you considered the inheritance you will leave?
2. Will it be something lasting or temporary?
3. Will it be material or also spiritual?
4. What are good memories of home?
5. Name other items you should leave them.
6. Discuss: You will leave them, but what?