I often wonder what my responsibilities are in the eyes of God in the many roles and spheres of influence I’m placed in. Thankfully, the Holy Scriptures are chalk full of practical examples for guidance in many, if not all, of these circumstances. Proverbs 19:14 says, “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” While considering this, a few thoughts come to mind that I you’ll find rewarding to consider also.
1. A distinction is made between the ordinary and extraordinary
Fathers can and should provide many things. There are, however, some things a worldly father cannot provide. It’s crucial not to get the two confused. I can give my children material things but I cannot give my children salvation. “No man can come to me [Jesus Christ] unless the father [God the Father] draws him.” – John 6:44
Now, clearly, a father should be a role model for Christian living, the good kind of Christian living (not the hypocritical, faithless, heartless, apathetic kind), and so affect a child’s view of who God is and how to approach God through Jesus. Yet, I must draw a distinction between my responsibilities and God’s responsibilities.
Recently, my own father and I were discussing his late-in-life job search and I casually mentioned to him “Prayer and patience.” To that he responded, “and performance.” To which I responded (being born with the need to communicate clearly), “Prayer, patience, and performance.”
To me, prayer, patience, and performance so fully describes the responsibility of a man, a husband, and/or a father. To prioritize prayer is to demonstrate faith in a loving God who hears prayer and recognize God’s sovereign power over all circumstances. Having patience and letting events unfold over a period of time shows reliance on God and His timing, not to mention a developing of character, integrity, and grit to endure and persevere through adversity. With performance, there is still a role for us to play after praying for God to act and patiently waiting on God’s act. We must continue to grind, to work, to pour ourselves out in what we ought. Too often apathy and laziness creep in under the pretense of patience when in fact we are oozing laziness out of our bones. “Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, as unto the Lord rather than man…” – Colossians 3:23
2. House and wealth
This is a challenging statement. If someone tells you that you must leave house and wealth to your children, the first rational question to ask is, “Do I have house and wealth to leave?”
What’s the answer to that question for you? Here’s mine. I currently can only leave a bit of 20% of my house to my children (after my wife of course!) and I’m not sure most people would consider me wealthy. Maybe it’s different for you. Maybe you rent an apartment and have 0% house to leave your kids. Maybe you own your own completely and check that box. What about wealth? Do you consider yourself wealthy or do you live paycheck to paycheck?
Perhaps you’re like me and are working hard to become debt free and build wealth so that you can check both boxes of leaving house and wealth to your children. If so, I wholeheartedly recommend maturing in personal finance. One of my most worthwhile financial pursuits has been a complete immersion in Dave Ramsey’s personal finance book, The Total Money Makeover https://amzn.to/2xhALAU, and all the content he posts on his YouTube channel, The Dave Ramsey Show https://www.youtube.com/user/DaveRamseyShow . I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours devouring his thoughts on how to handle money God’s way. It’s helped to motivate me in becoming a passionate leader in my home regarding our family finances and my future ability to leave house and wealth to my children.
I’m also a big fan of Zig Ziglar https://amzn.to/2pfN0cH and Brian Tracy https://amzn.to/2D8WFM2, among many, many other non-fiction self-development authors. In the world of business, there’s a saying that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And in self-development, if you’re not learning, you’re wasting time. I will say, you can find pretty much everything you want to read, listen to, or learn for free, either at libraries, YouTube, or mobile audiobook applications. Your public library may offer rental services through mobile apps so you can download audiobooks to your phone and listen to them on the go. That’s what I do for the countless books I read, redeeming my commute and loving every minute of traffic I get stuck in.
If we can’t leave house(s) and wealth to our children yet, do we have a plan to do so in the future? That’s where I currently am. I have plans in place to make this Proverb a future reality for my family. Do you?
3. What is wealth?
If you Google “what is wealth”, you may find 611,000,000 potential solutions. Let me boil down the first and best one. Wealth is abundance of valuable possessions.
Some of you may have a lot of possessions but they aren’t valuable. Some of you may have valuable possessions but they are limited in number. The primary issue to work out here is getting more of the right stuff and using up that right stuff less.
To create abundance, we must bring in more than we send out. We must make more money than we spend. We must grow more than we lose. The Law of the Harvest is always at work. You reap what you sow. If you spend all the money you make on things that don’t increase your earnings, you will not have wealth down the road. If you make so little that you have to spend all that you make to survive, you will not have wealth down the road.
In order to have abundance, we must have self-discipline, which business guru Brian Tracy describes as “Doing what you should, when you should, whether you feel like it or not.” Shouldn’t that be the anthem of fathers everywhere? Men who do what they should, when they should, whether they feel like it or not?
Everyone is in a different stage of life and therefor has either finished the race or is still running it. No one is standing on the sidelines or siting in the stands. No one. Everyone is running. You are running the race. The only question is, what will be at the end of your finish line.
I hope that’s how my children describe me when I’ve passed on to a better life in Heaven. I pray to live the kind of life that allows me to be a Proverbs 19:14 kind of man. Someone who is self-disciplined enough in my own life to leave house and wealth to my children, to recognize God’s sovereignty over material things, and discern between the ordinary and extraordinary.
Would love to know what you think about fathers leaving house and wealth to their children in the comments below!