We recently went through the task of preparing our wills. It was unpleasant, but …
“…Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die…’” (2 Kings 20:1).
One day it will happen. Death will come. It’s a sure thing for every living soul, and it’s important to be prepared.
Like most people, I would prefer not to think about death. I’m not alone. According to Forbes magazine, approximately 70% of the population will die without estate planning. In other words, they won’t be prepared.
God has eternity in mind. Everything we do is for eternity. Most of us don’t think in those terms. We get caught up in the craziness of this world and tend to focus on the temporal things.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
What do I want to leave our children with? Do I want to leave them an inheritance, or do I want to leave them a legacy? I used to equate one with the other. The truth is, the two are very different.
An inheritance generally refers to material goods being handed down from one person to another. Homes, cars, collectibles, and money.
“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.”
A legacy, on the other hand, generally refers to how a person will be remembered by others. I think of my grandparents and how they taught us about love, commitment, family, and simplicity.
I grew up listening to people argue over who got what when so-and-so die’s. The conversations always made me cringe. These petty arguments usuall took place in front of so-and-so and the majority of our family. Even as a young child, I knew that a person is more important than their stuff. Sadly, disputes like this are fairly common these days.
My husband’s parenting philosophy comes from a familiar quote, “Give them a fish, and you’ll feed them for a day. Teach them to fish, and you’ll feed them for a lifetime.” We both agree that we want to leave our kids and grand kids something substantial, but it’s not worldly things that we have in mind. Our wills focused on the inheritance (the fish) but our lives are focused on the legacy (how to fish).
God desires that we leave our family something lasting. That means we have to put values into their lives that will last beyond our lifetime. Inheritance fades away as we spend it, but a legacy lives on after we die. It perpetuates.
I know it seems like a strange thing to blog about, but no matter what age you are as your reading this, you are already building a legacy. What will it be?
The greatest gift we can leave our family is to know Jesus Christ as Savior. His gift of salvation is the only thing that will truly last forever, and hopefully, Jesus is what our kids and grand kids will inherit and pass on to their children for generations to come.