You’ve probably seen that bumper sticker on the rear bumper of a massive RV. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that reads, “Spending our children’s inheritance!” That does beg the question, “Should we leave an inheritance for our children?” There are several well-known entertainers who don’t think we should namely Kirk Douglas and Marie Osmond.
Kirk Douglas, who died recently at the age of 103 years, left the bulk of his $61 million estate to his charity, the Douglas Foundation. He did not leave anything to his son, Michael, also a film star. The probable reason is not because Kirk didn’t love his son but because Michael is worth $278 million dollars. He doesn’t need the money!
Marie Osmond, the 60 year old performer, on the other hand, intentionally is not leaving an inheritance to her 8 children. In an interview on “The Talk,” Marie said, “I'm not leaving any money to my children. Congratulations, kids," the mother of eight said. “My husband and I decided that you do a great disservice to your children to just hand them a fortune because you take away the one most important gift you can give your children, and that's the ability to work. You see it a lot in rich families where the kids don't know what to do so they get in trouble, so I just let them be proud of what they make and I'm going to give mine to my charity." Part of Marie’s reason for her decision came when she said, “I had an uncle and an aunt and her family fought over a mirror and a table when they passed away,” she revealed. “My mother said, 'That will never happen.'”
So, there you have it. Should we leave an inheritance to our children so they can “get a leg up” on the world after we die or are we corrupting them by giving them wealth they never earned? As Christians, we don’t live by the standards of the culture or other people. We are people of the Bible who live according to God’s standards as written in the Bible. So what does the Bible say about leaving an inheritance to our children? The Bible uses the term “inheritance” 220 times. In the Old Testament, we read that God gave an inheritance to His children, Israel, i.e. the promised land. The exception being the Levites for whom God is called their inheritance (Deuteronomy 10:9). Beyond that fact, the Bible says the entire nation of Israel is called His inheritance (Deuteronomy 4:20, 9:29, 32:9). Furthermore, He instructs the Israelites to leave an inheritance to their children (the family land, animals, wealth). Finally, King Solomon writes, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children . . .” (Proverbs 13:22). He’s saying that a good person leaves an inheritance for even his grandchildren! Finally, one of the most important verses on leaving an inheritance is Proverbs 19:14, “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” Did you catch that? Houses and wealth are inherited from parents.
In the New Testament, Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as the inheritance of the redeemed (Matthew 25:34). Christians are told to work heartily as unto the Lord because we will receive “an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:23, 24). The Apostle Peter tells us that we have been born again through Christ’s resurrection and have an inheritance that “can never perish, spoil, or fade” kept in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:3, 4). Regarding the inheritance of wealth from parents, Jesus told a man who wanted his share of the family inheritance, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:13-15). Know that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).
The conclusion is that it is a Biblical principle founded on God’s own example to leave an inheritance for your children, however, know your children. Money can corrupt and you do them no favor by leaving a large sum of money or possessions to children who are unable or incapable of stewarding it well. Also, the Bible never specifies how much one should leave as an inheritance to one’s children. That is left to the parents to decide.
Jesus is our Great Inheritance,