"A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren." Proverbs 13:22
When one first reads this Scripture verse, one of the first things to come to mind is that of leaving an inheritance of money. Who wouldn't like to receive a sizable inheritance of tens of thousands of dollars from a rich father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, aunt or uncle?
I once attended the reading of a will of a very wealthy businessman I had known for two years. I attended the probation of his will because our church had been included in his estate. This man had owned his own manufacturing company in Chicago, and his stock portfolio would rival that of any Wall Street broker. His will gave specific instructions and directed that his estate be divided among various worthwhile charities. One of which was our church. He granted seven percent of his entire estate to the church, a church he had never attended, but who's pastor had once visited the man in his home in an attempt to lead the man to faith in Christ.
Most of his estate was earmarked for various charities: The American Cancer Society, The Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and various hospitals. Finally, he included his mistress, and his three biological children.
One can only imagine the shock on the faces of the three adult children when they each discovered that their father had left them a tidy sum of $10.00 each. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Now back to the inheritance you will leave your grandchildren. It may be financial riches, or it may be the tidy sum of $10.00 per grandchild. Since most people are not in a position to be able to leave tens of thousands of dollars to anyone, what is a person to do?
The best gift you can leave is not money. The best gift you can leave is to leave them a vibrant spiritual inheritance. Leave them with the knowledge that they are loved unconditionally. Live such an example of the Christian life if front of them that they will want to have a relationship with the Lord. Leave them knowing that you have and will continue to pray for them by name for as long as you live. Leave them with written messages of love such as cards and letters. Leave them with an inheritance that will influence them for many years to come.
Ann Davis lifted her aching body from a straw mat and touched the shoulder of a new believer in Christ. The woman turned and their meeting eyes initiated laughter, tears of joy, and an embrace of gratitude. Then Davis repeated the process three more times as each of the aging Acholi (uh-CHO-lee) women came to faith in Jesus.
Davis, 73, and her husband, Don, 75, were part of a LifeWay evangelism missions team that spent two weeks in northern Uganda sharing the gospel among some of the 1.5 million Acholi. The trip wasn't always physically easy for either of them, but it's not in Ann's nature to let a little thing like osteoporosis get in the way of fulfilling God's calling.
"We planned everything so that we could retire at 55 to do volunteer missions," said Don, a LifeWay retiree. "We thought God wanted us to go as full-time missionaries but He showed us quickly that was not to be the case. Instead He was calling us to serve through short-term missions."
Serve they have. The Davises have been on more than 70 mission trips encompassing dozens of countries. The motivation behind every trip is the same. "I am fully convinced that every person should have the opportunity to hear the gospel," Don said. "In order to do that, someone has to tell. We are simply trying to be obedient to what the Lord has called us to do."
Even the simple act of opening his mouth and speaking the gospel is evidence of God's grace at work in Don's life. At age 33 he suffered a stroke and lost his voice for three years, not knowing if he'd ever be able to speak again. After surgery and years of speech therapy he learned to speak again even though the left side of his speech mechanism is still paralyzed.
At first one might think the Davises' physical challenges would make them a burden to a short-term mission team, and that was the initial thought of one Ugandan national working with the team during their June 28-July 12, 2008 outreach in the African country. Using the terms "Mussa" (moo-zay) for Don and "Mama" for Ann---both cultural expressions of honor and respect---he recanted his first impressions.
"I confess that when I first saw Mussa and the Mama I did not think they were going to make it well," said Chris Bwami of Nsogu Ministries. "But they did and they were a testimony to the people. One older man said he could not come to hear the gospel preached and then he saw the Mama walking from hut to hut sharing the gospel and he got up and went. One day we all stopped for lunch but the Mussa never came back to eat, he just kept sharing the gospel. This is a great example to us."
Legacy is something the Davises consciously think about, and people they've led to Christ around the world are part of that legacy. But legacy begins at home as far as they are concerned. Katelin, the Davises' 19-year-old granddaughter, traveled with them as part of the team. It was her first mission trim with her grandparents. "They are such a great example," Katelin said. "It has been awesome to share this experience with them. They have such a love for the Lord and I've learned a lot just being with them."
The Davises plan to continue their involvement in volunteer missions and encourage others---not just retirees---to invest in missions. "Don't retire," Don said. "Just move on to what God has called you to do next. If you are still living and breathing, you are a missionary. You don't have to go overseas to be a missionary, but if you do, God will provide the resources. And if He calls, go. Don't hesitate, go do it.
From a (BP) article by Chris Turner, media relations manager for LifeWay Christian Resources.
Navigate to our volunteer page and see if there are opportunities God might have for you.
Also, you don't have to go overseas to be a missionary...you can serve right where you are today. Pray, and look around you for those God-given opportunities that surround all of us.
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Disclaimer: this is not about what you think it is.
It is not about repaying your parents or grandparents for a student loan, a vehicle, a diamond ring, a down payment on a house, or a big screen TV. Benevolent parents sometimes lend money to their children, teens, and even their adult children. Without question, those debts should be repaid. More about that at a later time...but what does repaying your parents mean within the context of this blog post?
A reading of the Bible passage of I Timothy 5:3-16, reveals that God has expectations for widows who have children. Some of the truths gleaned from this passage include: 1. The church should provide financial relief for widows who are experiencing real needs. 2. The widow who is blessed with children or grandchildren should put their religion into practice by getting involved in caring for their own familie's needs. These needs may be financial, but we prefer to believe that FAR more important are those that include needs of an emotional, friendship, inspirational, spiritual, encouraging, and mentoring nature.
Any parent or grandparent can throw money at a need or problem. Unfortunately, most of the attempts at fixing things with money simply fail. What is even more unfortunate is that many parents or grandparents throw money at a child with the unstated intention that the child will take the money and leave them alone for a while. Most of the time, throwing money doesn't work. Sure, it may buy a few things, but it often builds resentment, discouragement, disrespect, and even hatred.
Setting the proper spiritual example to be followed is FAR more worthwhile than throwing a few dollars, a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars at a son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter. As a grandparent, or a parent, your what your kids really need is YOU, your time, and your influence. Step up to the plate and become the parent or grandparent that God wants you to be! Both you and your family may just find that you have your best days ahead.
How do you repay your parents for the sacrifices and investments they may have made in you? No, your parents were not perfect. Like their parents, they probably made their share of mistakes and so will you. So how do you repay your parents for thier sacrifices? Not with money! But by investing yourself in the lives of your children and grandchildren. This is God's plan, one generation gives to the next by pouring themselves into the lives of the next. This is God's plan...and it works!!! Ask God for the strength and wisdom you need to make a lasting difference in the lives of your loved ones. Both you, your family, and the Kindgom of God will be the better for it.