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Practices

What Will Your Children Inherit?

What will your children inherit when you die? Most parents have a legal document itemizing the distribution of their assets and the care of any minor children after their death. But a legal will, as crucial as it is, isn’t as important as passing our Christian values and beliefs from one generation to the next.

A legal will, as crucial as it is, isn’t as important as passing our Christian values and beliefs from one generation to the next. Share on X

A sacred bequest.

Our lives today shape the future lives of our children and grandchildren. United States senator Paul Tsongas said, “We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and grandchildren. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.”

The Scriptures say, “… tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done … so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they, in turn, would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” Psalm 78:4, 6-7.

Note the phrase “so the next generation would know them.” God expects us to tell our children and grandchildren the stories about Him, so they will know the truth and live for Him. This isn’t something new. It’s a sacred practice dating back to Genesis 49:1-33 and Deuteronomy 32:46-47. And it’s something that many Jewish people continue to do through writing ethical wills (sometimes called legacy letters) for their loved ones.

A living legacy.

To leave a sacred legacy, you have to be a living legacy. A God honouring life isn’t something you do on the weekend or when it’s convenient. To begin and sustain a godly legacy requires a 24/7 commitment to live for Jesus. Author Leanne Cabral says, “A legacy of faith is built on one seemingly insignificant act of obedience at a time.” That’s a great insight. It’s a reminder that a living legacy requires intentionality and perseverance if it will bear fruit for generations to come.

Your children's legacy begins in your heart, in your love for God. Share on X

So don’t minimize the importance of a life well lived. “Train yourself to be godly” 1 Timothy 4:7. Do what is fair and just, love mercy and walk humbly with God (cf. Micah 6:8). Staying in step with Jesus is a more excellent gift for your next of kin than any heirlooms, trust funds or properties. Is your inheritance in shape? Your children’s legacy begins in your heart, in your love for God (cf. Psalm 112:1-2). The evangelist Billy Graham said, “The greatest legacy one can pass onto one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

Praying for your children and grandchildren.

What do you want most, for, and from your loved ones? To leave a legacy worthy of future generations, pray for an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade, is kept in Heaven for them, and is shielded by God’s power until He comes again (cf. 1 Peter 1:3-5).

Be earnest in prayer. Only God can secure your children’s and grandchildren’s inheritance. Ask Him to make your progeny His possession – heirs belonging to Christ, to the praise of His glory.

Finishing strong.

Someone once said, “Our children are messengers we send to a time we will not see.” All of us leave something behind when we die. What will you leave for your family? Will it be a legacy of righteousness or unrighteousness, faith or unbelief? When all is said and done, how will your children remember you, and what will they filter down to their children? Contemporary Christian rock band Casting Crowns is convinced the only legacy worth leaving is Jesus. In their song Only Jesus, they sing: “I don’t care if they remember me. Only Jesus. And I, I’ve only got one life to live. I’ll let every second point to Him. Only Jesus.”

Be willing to die for what you want your children to live for. Share on X

“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” Proverbs 13:22. Finish strong. Be willing to die for what you want your children to live for. If your children are going to inherit abundant and eternal life, it’s helpful for them to see you die to yourself and live for Christ. So leave a legacy that will transform their tomorrow. Live for Jesus – that’s what matters! For a heritage that lasts is determined by the Christian values and beliefs that make you who you are today.

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© Scripture Union, 2023

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