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Five Principles of Inheritance in the Bible

11 months ago By Bill High

What does the Bible say about leaving an inheritance? Although the Bible is clear that a good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22), the Bible doesn’t prescribe what that inheritance should be or how much the inheritance should be. It’s one of the most common questions I get asked: “How much should I leave my children?”  There are at least 5 principles of inheritance in the Bible that deserve attention.  Principle One: It’s Your Responsibility to Provide Order. Sometimes in a planning conversation, I will hear a parent say, “Well, what do I care? I’ll be gone. My kids can figure it out.” When King David was nearing his last days, his kingdom was not in order. His successor to the throne was not clearly in place, and in absence of that clarity, his son Adonijah seized the throne. His wife Bathsheba was forced to go to King David and make clear that Solomon was to be king. She stated boldly, “And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him” (I Kings 1:20). As a parent, it was David’s role to designate who would come after him. Similarly, it’s our responsibility to provide a clear plan for our children’s inheritance based on these biblical principles.  Principle Two: God Desires Generations. Our western culture has taught us to raise our children to independence—for our children to go on and live their own lives. That notion of independence has sometimes led to separation, and even encouraged a departure from values. But God desires for families and their values to continue for generations. Consider God’s command to Abraham as a guideline for inheritance in the Bible: “And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations’” (Genesis 17:9). As we consider leaving an inheritance, it should be with the notion that we want our family to continue for generations in an ongoing covenant.  Principle Three: Pass on Values Through Your Family Story. One of the most powerful forms of biblical inheritance is the family story. Can your children and even grandchildren tell how you met, your struggles, your growth—the stories that make your family unique? In the Old Testament as part of the annual Passover celebration, God prescribed that the celebration should always start with the youngest child asking a question: What do you mean by this service? (Exodus 12:25-27). This question was the impetus to start the storytelling, the remembrance of what God had done for them.  Principle Four: Love Equally but Treat According to Responsibility. While we should endeavor to love our children equally, it doesn’t mean that we should give them an equal inheritance. We see biblical inheritance played out when Israel blessed his 12 sons in Genesis 49. The oldest son, Reuben, should have received a double inheritance, but he was unfaithful, so he didn’t get the share. Similarly, sons 2 & 3, Simeon and Levi, had fierce anger, so they were disqualified. It was the fourth son, Judah, who got the double portion. As a practical matter, the larger the estate and the larger the responsibility, the more likely that there may be a need for unequal inheritance.  Principle Five: Inheritance as Mission. While there’s little doubt that leaving an inheritance is a great gift, in Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously, David Green states that the first inheritance should be a set of values, virtues and work ethic. When it comes to financial wealth—particularly when larger amounts are involved—David points out that he would rather not have wealth if it meant losing one of his children or grandchildren for eternity. The more a family is aligned around a vision, a mission and a set of values, there’s a greater reason to keep family wealth together as biblical inheritances teaches.  There’s little doubt that I’ve only skimmed the surface on the biblical principles of inheritance. More of these thoughts and ideas can be found in David Green’s book noted above. However, I invite your thoughts and views. Email me at [email protected]

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Millennial Donor Inspires Through Intentional Generosity

3 years ago By The Signatry

Kate Gardner’s inheritance has always been more about what she can give than what she has been given. After all, the source of her early inheritance came from a model of investing outwardly. Kate’s father is the founder of an investing advisory service that helps people attain financial freedom and broadly enrich their lives. From an early age, Kate remembers her father’s intentionality in enabling the family’s generosity. “One of my favorite memories is when my parents, every Sunday in church, would give us money to put in the offering plate,” Kate said. “It always stuck with me that even though it was their money, they were empowering me to participate and feel like we got to give our resources to the Lord.” A year after graduating from Princeton in 2016, Kate moved to New York City and worked for two different Christian non-profits. Out of obedience, she gave a large chunk of an investment portfolio her family had given her away to a few ministries that she felt a calling toward. But, even after graduating, moving to a big city, and making a substantial impact with her money, Kate did not feel she had fully realized what God had in store for her. “My dad would remind us that the root word of invest, the Latin word investire, can be translated to ‘put on the clothes of,’ which suggests that you are almost becoming or embodying what you invest in,” Kate shared. She saw herself as wanting to steward holistically by pouring her life into where her resources go. Supporting Missionaries on a Deeper Level Her connection with different organizations and her drive to develop relationships would stir the creation of what is now Greenhouse Group: a philanthropy ministry run by Kate where she spreads a significant monthly investment across 60 missionaries in support of their work. Understanding her true passion of encouraging people and the desire to develop her own ministry to come alongside Kingdom builders was sparked by one of her favorite quotes. “Frederick Buechner is a wonderful Christian author. He proposes that: ‘The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,’” Kate said. “As someone with a lot of options of what to do with my life, that was a really helpful paradigm for me. What started Greenhouse was the conviction that my ‘joy’ is encouragement, and the world’s ‘need’ is the Gospel.” “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner Many of Kate’s missionaries at Greenhouse Group are friends of friends or were connected to her from organizations that she contacted. Living out her encouraging lifestyle, Kate has been around the world and visited with a good number of the teams she supports over the last two years. Her efforts have taught her the needs of people in countries like Mozambique, France, Japan, and many others. When she is not traveling, her days are often filled with intentional meetings, identifying people’s dreams and praying over God’s calling on their lives and organizations. She has also forayed into helping start-up organizations catalyze group prayer calls as a way to promote a multiplied atmosphere of prayer. “I think that’s how God wired our brains… what truly gives us a sense of thriving is getting to participate and have purpose in other people’s lives,” Kate said. A Missionary to Missionaries Kate’s outlook, rooted in her faith, has led to a gratitude that has moved her to become a missionary to missionaries. Her intentionality meant more than becoming a monthly supporter. “I get to come in and break people’s boxes in terms of what philanthropy can mean. I want to invest in those serving God not only financially, but perhaps even more importantly through a relationship founded on seeking and enjoying Him together,” she said. Kate opens a two-way street of communication and reciprocal enthusiasm in what the Lord is doing and where her gifts are going. In this way, Kate is fueling her own drive to continue encouraging others. In Matthew 5:16 ESV, Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Where the world is often telling us to hold on to our things, the gospel is telling us to live openly, and Kate exudes this principle of developing eternal hearts around the globe with fervor.

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Stories of Motherhood

3 years ago By The Signatry

The stories of motherhood leave a legacy imprinted on our hearts. Sometimes, they are stories of quiet, gentle, sacrifice recognized years later. Sometimes, they are those humorous stories of family lore. Sometimes, they are stories of great sorrow and loss, wounds that God is healing. So today, we celebrate and honor them all. The women of The Signatry are celebrating the moms who inspire them so that as women we are speaking life to one another. Join and share your own stories that inspire you from motherhood. The Sacrifice of a Single Mom On this Mother’s Day, as we look to those women in our lives that have inspired us, for me, it is my mother. Growing up in a single-family home, her sacrifice to support my sister and I was evident in that she was willing to work 3rd shift at General Motors to make sure we were taken care of. It meant my sister taking care of me the best that she could after school each day. It included cooking dinner for the both of us and attempting to help me with homework. As an adult, I have seen those years of support move to that of a mother who truly is a prayer warrior. Instead of nights spent up with me as a child, they are now in fervent prayer for our family. She truly inspires me to be a mother of prayer and strength. -Rhiannon K.

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