As someone who has worked in the financial services industry, I am familiar with the concept of building personal wealth and the transfer of wealth from one generation to another. As the first decade of the 2000s began there was virtually nothing but optimism about the financial future. I heard in one meeting that we were about to witness the greatest transfer of wealth ever seen. The 80s and 90s had seen unprecedented financial growth. It was certain that the 2000s would be a great financial decade.
But the 2000s did not unfold as predicted. The market and IRAs went south. There was 9/11 and the war on terror. What most thought would be a financial boom was a boondoggle. The great transfer of wealth became the great disappearance of wealth. The truth of Proverbs 23:5 was vividly illustrated. “… Riches make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle to heaven.”
Of course we know that it is unwise and even unbiblical to ignore the financial future. We should make wise financial decisions for the present and the future. But this is not where certainty and security lie. There is only certainty and security in eternal things. And the one thing that is certain and unchanging is the gospel.
The one thing we must not fail to pass on to our children and their children is the gospel. As we learn to live the gospel, as we embrace and proclaim the gospel, as we passionately follow the Christ of the gospel, we leave a lasting legacy and an inheritance for the generations to come. The gospel is not merely a free ticket to heaven; it’s about new life in Christ. As I heard one man say, “We never move beyond the gospel, just deeper and deeper into it.” The gospel is about the love of the holy God for sinners. It is about redemption, forgiveness, grace, mercy, forbearance, justice, and righteousness. It is about the reality of these things lived out in the lives of those who know the saving power of the gospel. And it is ultimately about the glory of God in these things.
As you live these things before this generation, as you passionately embrace Crist and His gospel, you leave a lasting inheritance. We cannot decide for the next generation, but we can model for the next generation a life transformed by the gospel. “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” (Proverbs 13:22)
What will we leave to the next generation?
That the generation to come might know Christ,
The present political climate finds many bemoaning the fact that our generation is mortgaging our children’s future. Trillions of dollars of debt and astronomical amounts of interest on that debt threaten to destroy the US economy and reduce a once great nation to rubble, leaving our descendants with far less than their forefathers had to enjoy. These startling realities should motivate us to get involved, vote for change, and hold our elected officials accountable.
But while the future generations face these and more desperate problems, if things continue as they are, something far more alarming and significant may be in store for them. The Christian church, especially the American Christian church, seems far more concerned about its children’s Social Security than its spiritual security. What if we correct the course of our political and economic ship, elect a responsible and effective Chief Executive and fail to leave a godly heritage to our children? What if we fail to do all we can to instill in them an eternal perspective, hunger and thirst for righteousness, and a passion for Christ and His gospel? What if we restore the so-called American dream and fail to pass on a Biblical vision to the generation to come? What if our children inherit our IRAs, property, and houses and do not inherit from us an unshakable faith in the Almighty God that will stand the test of time?
I realize that we cannot give our children, or any of our descendants, genuine saving faith in Christ or unshakable commitment to His truth. But we can, by God’s grace, lay a foundation for them, model a commitment to them, and teach them with a genuine and fervent passion that communicates something of their eternal value. As Paul invested his life in his son in the faith, Timothy, and passed on to him his gospel vision, may we do the same with the children the Lord has given us. Let no cost deter us nor any burden hinder us from passing a vision for Christ and His kingdom to our children and the future generations. May we walk in the integrity of gospel-centered lives and see the blessings of God on our descendants after us (Prov. 20:7).
That the generations to come might know Christ,