Proverbs 13:22 – “The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the just.” (New American Bible)
I had found the woman of my dreams. God had confirmed to both of us that we were to be married. When I presented her to my parents my mother took me aside and gave me a small box containing a beautiful engagement ring.
« Son, » she said, « this was my mother’s engagement ring; and it’s something I always wanted to give you when you found the right woman. » Putting that engagement ring on the hand of my future wife was not only a great blessing, it was the only material inheritance I ever received from my maternal grandparents. And it gave both me and my wife a sense of belonging, and a sense of having a deep root.
Your calling and destiny come from God, as do the gifts, talents and abilities that are unique to you. But your inheritance comes from the generation that preceded you. It represents a wealth that you did not work for and did not earn. It is a blessing that comes to you simply by being the offspring of an earlier generation.
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. It was he who negotiated with Napoleon Bonaparte the sale of the Louisiana tract. He was one of the most influential presidents of that nation’s history. Yet upon his death he was horribly in debt; which that his grandchildren ultimately had to assume.
What will you leave to the next generation? There was a proverb in Israel at the time of king Solomon that spoke very dearly to his heart: « A righteous man leaves an inheritance to his children and his grandchildren. » It is a spiritual reality that whatever one generation does, for good or for evil, it leaves its mark on the next two generations. It will either be for a blessing or for a curse.
The spiritual leaders of the nation today will either leave an inheritance of great blessing for the next two generations to enjoy, or else leave a spiritual debt for the next two generations to pay off. So, again, I ask you: what will you leave to the next generation?
Whether you want it or not, you will become a point of reference for the next generation. Will they look at your character, your courage, your consecration and say: « That’s what it means to be a true Christian? » Will the ceiling you build during your life be stable enough for them to build a foundation upon?
Regardless of your age or your marital status today, you must decide now to begin building the inheritance that you will leave behind. Whether you have physical children or not, you will have spiritual children. Pray over the next generation. Bless it. Discern God’s purposes for that generation and begin to serve those purposes. The best thing that you can do with your life is to sow it into the fertile field of the next generation.