Monday, October 26, 2009


There was a recent article in the business section of a newspaper that interested me. It urged older Americans not to worry about leaving any inheritance to their children. The message of the article was clear: "You don't owe the next generation anything. You've earned it, so get out there, spend it and live for yourself."

Those sentiments are a bit like a bumper sticker I've seen, "SKI CLUB MEMBERS - Spending Kids' Inheritance." Perhaps this idea is meant to help retirees enjoy life, but it's a poor way to do it. Aside from the obvious "RBS" (Really Bad Stewardship), it encourages an attitude of selfishness that helps no one. Everything we have is a gift from God, and we must use it all carefully and wisely, in every generation.

Leaving an inheritance is, of course, more than one's possessions. My parents left us a small amount of money, and that only due to a wise brother's investment on their behalf. Their real legacy was who they were and the godly example they gave us. Their greatest inheritance to us was the faith in Christ they instilled in us, one that was embodied in a wall plaque that read, "Only One Life, 'Twill Soon Be Past - Only What's Done For Christ Will Last."

My wife and I plan to leave an inheritance to our two sons. It already includes a good education and a secure childhood. It will include an ongoing example of marital love and devotion that will equip them for a faithful life. We've left them positive character traits, good work habits, and attitudes that should give them strength and endurance for most situations of life. We've tried to show them when to stand up and speak, as well as when to sit down and listen. And we plan to leave them a financial inheritance as well.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." A parental legacy must first and foremost involve Jesus Christ. Teaching our children the way of salvation through faith in Him is the greatest gift we can ever give them. Showing them Christ through regular worship, sharing of material blessings and respect for God's Word, will do more for our childrens' futures than a thousand times the money we could ever give them.

What kind of inheritance are you leaving?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Tom and his wife Gerri decided to have their kitchen remodeled. They developed plans, hired a carpenter and for some three weeks, the schedule around the house was changed into something new. Each day at about 7 AM the doorbell would ring and the carpenter would come in to start his work. He would usually work until about 4:30 when he would close the front door and the house would be silent.

Since both Tom and Gerri worked during the day, it was a good arrangement for all. All except for their cat Tuffy. The sound of pounding and sawing and the clutter of construction upset him greatly. Daily life was different and he didn't know why it had to be that way. So Tuffy also developed a schedule. The moment he heard the doorbell ring each morning, he scampered to an open bedroom closet and slipped far back under some hanging clothes. He stayed there in the dark all day, not even coming out for food or his catbox. Only when he heard the door shut at 4:30 did he emerge from his closet. Even on weekends when the carpenter didn't come he was seen to sneak into his closet when a door slammed.

You had to feel sorry for Tuffy. He couldn't understand what was going on. He could not have realized all the noise and clutter meant something good in the future, for the plans included a special place just for him in the new laundry room. Every day he just hurried to his dark hiding place, assuming the worst, thinking it was the best place to be until that nasty carpenter left the house.

Sometimes we're like Tuffy. God is at work in our lives like the carpenter and we're not sure what's going on. He seems to allow trouble, clutter and unnecessary messes to come into our lives, causing us fear and aggravation. We wish things would get back to normal, and soon. But all the while God is making needed changes, building something good and useful for us, doing things we will not appreciate until later.

The Bible says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6) Sometimes that's not easy to do, but it's always the best way. God loves us and wants to bring us to eternal life by faith in Jesus. He will guide us in the right path of life if we will just trust Him.

Are you hiding in the closet, or are you looking for how He is at work in your life?

Monday, October 12, 2009


Tonight Carol and I watched "The Soloist," a true story about Nathaniel Ayers, a gifted musician who lived on the streets of Los Angeles due to his mental condition of schizophrenia. He loved Beethoven and played the cello well, although the imagined voices he heard held him prisoner and kept him from using his talent as he wished. It is a touching movie that dealt sensitively with the difficult issues of mental illness, gifts and wanting to help others in need.  

The principal actor, Jamie Foxx, depicted Mr. Ayers incredibly well. After seeing him here and also in "Ray," his movie about musician Ray Charles, I can only hope he continues to use his gifts to make movies that honor people and God. 

Just prior to the movie Carol and I had watched with much frustration our Rockies baseball team end its season with a loss in their divisional series. This movie was a good way to get back to reality. There's nothing like genuine troubles to make imagined ones go away. 

One thing the movie showed was the fragility of the human soul. Seeing the hundreds of street people depicted in their personal and often distorted worlds was sobering. With our common human weaknesses and frailties, none of us are all not that far from mental confusion. Sometimes only a thin line separates the "sane" from the "insane." We'd all do well to give thanks for being ordinary people who usually know what reality is.

In His day Jesus saw people with both physical and mental troubles, and saw them without judgment. Whether it was the demon-possessed man who lived among the tombs or the young man who loved his riches; whether it was the woman caught in adultery or the Pharisee certain of his purity; whether it was the humble and lowly or the high and mighty, Jesus knew their needs. And He loved them despite their sins. He knew they needed a rescuer, a life preserver, someone who could hold them up and keep them from drowning.

Jesus knew what they needed because He was that Savior, that Man among men, the true Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. He died on the cross of Calvary that we the broken might be made whole. It was His prophet who wisely said, "Blessed is the one that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is." (Jeremiah 17:7)

May we all rejoice in being ordinary!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


A lot of people I know feel they don't have enough time to do all they want to do. Busyness can be imposed or created, real or an illusion. We can feel we're busy while not really doing anything. Retired people know all about that.

The story is told of a father who was so busy that he always brought work home at night from the office. He'd spend a little time with his children at supper, then head for his home office where he shut his door for an hour or two of more work. His first grade daughter saw this and eventually began to wonder why her Daddy did that. 

One night she asked Mommy what Daddy was doing in his office.  "Daddy's working - he has a lot to do, so much that he can't finish it at the office every day." The little girl thought for a moment, and then in a compassionate, childlike way said, "Well, then, why don't they put Daddy in a slower group? That's what we do in school." (I wonder how Mommy related this to Daddy. )

Are there days when you need to be put into a slower group? If so, the only one who can do it is you. Take a moment to look at your life. Are you neglecting the important things, such as cultivating relationships, in favor of that which is secondary?

Our Lord once said, "I have come that you might have life in all its abundance." (John 10:10) When He died on the cross it was to grant us eternal life when we die. It was also that we might trust Him for all things now, including a little contentment and joy in life.

Maybe we don't need to be put into a slower group, but a group that moves at the Lord's pace and according to His priorities. At your life's end, will you look back and wish you'd spent more time at work? Will you rejoice at the time you spent with your hobby? Or will you give thanks for time spent at home and with loved ones? 

What group do you need to be in?