(Dive even deeper into leaving a legacy gift by watching this teaching, just scroll to the bottom and click play.)
In today’s article, I’m teaching about leaving a legacy gift. In the previous articles (part one, part two, part three), we’ve learned that generosity is at the gospel’s core. It is one of the values of God that He so esteems that He wants each of His children to be able to embody the trait of generosity.
We ought to be generous with our love, kindness, and forgiveness of others, as well as our mercy—and undoubtedly generous in how we share our resources.
God wants you to grow in generosity. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”
We can see from the text that generosity is not one-dimensional. God says when you practice generosity, there’s reciprocity with it. Generosity is a prophetic act; what you sow is what you reap.
When we think of generosity, we cannot overlook the role of legacy. When you are generosity-minded or practice generosity personally, it says you are thinking about the generations that follow you. Legacy is about setting in motion gifts that will benefit those who follow you in terms of your descendants.
Legacy includes tangible gifts and intangible gifts. Tangible gifts would consist of buildings, lands, houses and property. The intangible gifts are character, godliness, valuing people and a love of diversity. Both must be passed on.
Keep in mind that when we focus on leaving a legacy gift, there are things we must have a sharp focus on. We must prepare the giver, we must prepare the gift and we must prepare the recipient.
Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.”
It is a discipleship matter to be able to leave a legacy gift. It doesn’t matter your net worth or how much or how little you have. The Bible says that God wants us to shape our values and behavior so that we can leave a gift for our children’s children.
Preparing the Giver
A wise person leaves gifts for their children’s children, and part of being wise or good means we are thinking of the next generation. We’re not just thinking for ourselves. We are thinking about the generations that follow us. That’s the heartbeat of generosity, and it’s how to tell a person’s character, their values and feelings towards people, and how they leave gifts behind.
Proverbs 21:5 helps us understand how we need to prepare ourselves as a giver; it says, “If you plan and work hard, you will have plenty; if you hurry to get rich, you will end up poor.” The Bible teaches us that a determined person can make money, but a disciplined person can save money. It’s not just about making money, it’s about saving money to have a legacy gift to pass on to your descendants.
Legacy makers learn to live below their means and practice wealth building. That means their focus is on the quality of life and not necessarily the quantity of life.
That means you won’t know they’re a millionaire. They’re not driving their wealth. They’re not wearing jewelry. They are not flaunting their financial status. Only those who are practicing get-rich-quick schemes do that.
Another trait common among millionaires is that they pass it on. They raise financially independent children, which is a critical piece. As a parent, you have to realize that your job is to help shape and mold your children’s mindset, perspective and value of money so when they grow older, they’re not individuals that run wild and live rampantly and carelessly with financial management.
If you are going to leave a legacy gift for your descendants, you have to prepare yourself.
Preparing the Gift
Proverbs 13:22, and this time from the Contemporary English Version, says, “If you obey God, you will have something to leave your grandchildren.”
It’s not just you, the giver, being prepared; the gift must go through preparation. To leave something for your grandchildren, you have to make something and not consume all you make.
I have learned my money must obey me, which means you’re the ruler of your money. Never be one where your money rules you and dictates what you do. You determine how and when you’ll spend your money.
Preparing the gift is critical to being a legacy maker. My prayer is that you will become a legacy maker. So in a day to come, your children’s children will celebrate not only you and all the intangible assets you’ve passed on, but they will also celebrate the tangible assets that you’ve passed on. They’ll be thankful that you gave them a leg up and a head start.
Now, you may say, I don’t have any children. So what do I do?
Well, there are lots of things you can do. If you have organizations you value, you can leave something to that organization or organizations. There may be specific social interests. There may not be family members, but individuals who can carry on the work you’ve established, or they may be able to do something good in the world.
Look for these social innovators, back them and invest in them because they may be sharp and witty and just need a leg up. You can invest in these insightful, innovative individuals, and the future will be impacted.
It’s not about how much you have, it’s about how well you care for what you have.
My prayer is that the Lord will do work deep down inside you so you’ll be able to say, I’m going to fulfill Proverbs 13:22. I will be that wise person who leaves a gift for my children’s children.
A poverty mindset gravitates towards get-rich-quick schemes. That’s why you find people lining up to buy lottery tickets. And it’s incredible when you look closer at the data for people who have won a lottery. CNBC reported that lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three to five years than the average American. In other words, people that get money quickly, often lose money soon because they don’t understand how to manage money.
Don’t fall into that trap. I challenge you today—let the Holy Spirit help you accumulate wealth little by little to fulfill Proverbs 13:22.
Imagine how your children will feel when you leave them a legacy gift. They will feel as if you’re handing the world to them. You’re giving them a head start and a leg up. You’re allowing them to stand on your shoulders so they can run their race faster than you and more proficiently because you have helped to resource them so they can be effective at what God has assigned for them to do in their generation.
Preparing the recipient
Our responsibility is to leave a legacy for our children. They must know how to manage and handle tangible and intangible assets. They must get the proper perspective.
As much as you can, you must influence them and help them understand how to manage money. You must help them shape their values, so they understand how to care for people. That’s a critical piece of preparing the recipient.
Psalm 78:5 says, “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded to our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commandments.”
There’s a responsibility that God entrusts to you and me regarding our children and those that influence the younger generation. We have to teach them values so that it becomes their value too. Part of the issue of preparing the recipient to inherit this legacy gift is that they must be prepared to value money. By that, I mean, they must realize that money requires trustworthiness; money requires that you understand how to manage it, properly budget and live within your means, and prepare your descendants to handle it properly.
There’s something about preparing the recipient to handle the legacy gift. Don’t just give a gift and walk away. No, you have a moral, ethical and theological responsibility for shaping the recipient and preparing the recipient so they can handle the gift that you pass to them, whether it’s tangible or intangible.
So remember as legacy makers, we teach the recipient how to manage money. We invest in worthy causes. And we ask questions like: What is important to me? What is valuable to me? What causes will be part of my legacy?
What would happen if you considered leaving a legacy gift for your descendants?
Be a person who lives and is an example of Proverbs 13:22. Be someone that practices generosity and it’s evident in the legacy gift that you leave behind.