There is a passage in the Bible that asks the question, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul”? Another way one can look at that question would be, how much is all your money, trophies and stuff worth if you don’t have your health?
I’m in a prayer group with a lawyer who told us of his dad’s passing. He and his brother were going through their dad’s “stuff” trying to decide what to keep and what to sell or throw away. They came upon several hundred trophies from years of tennis and golf tournaments at the local country club. These trophies that have a value of probably $100 maximum in plastic, wood and gold colored tin, meant nothing to these two sons. What do you do? Build a trophy case for days of glory long gone, store them in boxes for the next generation to deal with or pitch them?
What about my “treasures” that have consumed my time, effort and money? Will my kids want any of it or will it just be something they will feel guilty about throwing away? How much time did I spend chasing a dollar to buy the things I thought I “needed”? Then there is always stress that goes along with meeting deadlines either self-imposed or ordered. The missed meals or eating chemical laced fast food on the run. The missed quality time with family. The missed opportunity for generosity. All for what? To have my kids throw most of it into a dumpster?
As Christians in the Western World, we cling to verses that admonish us to leave an inheritance for our children and grandchildren. So we build our land holdings, IRA’s and portfolios as we follow Biblical instruction. Could we be ignoring things like character, generosity and humility in the process? Could it be that these qualities are a better inheritance than stuff? A friend of ours always said, “The first generation makes it, the second generation enjoys it and the third generation loses it.”
A favorite Biblical passage of mine is, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.