There is something called generational wealth. This is wealth amassed by one generation and passed on to the next. Some have been denied this blessing due to war, mismanagement, premature death, disease, discrimination, or unresolved issues of sin. Apart from those sorrows and the financial damage they inflict, we should be able to leave something behind for those who follow us.
For example, someday Jan and I will pass on our home and any assets we have to our children. We will leave behind a harvest they did not plant believing they will do the same. My parents and Jan’s parents did this for us. This is not about big bucks, mansions, and a Lamborghini in the driveway. Neither family was wealthy. My dad was a carpenter. Jan’s folks were missionaries. In fact, both parents lost everything late in life, but God intervened on their behalf and restored to them a retirement blessing through a means not considered by most financial planners. In their loss, they encountered the grace and mercy of God. Under God’s redemptive hand, they finished better off after the loss than they would have had the original retirement plan worked out as structured. When our life is placed in the hands of God, outcomes are encountered that seem impossible to natural thinking.
When Jan and I were younger, we made plenty of mistakes with our finances. We needed God’s grace and mercy to help us when we bought a new car on time having by-passed financial wisdom in our decision-making process or when we ran up our first credit card to the max “buying” a cruise to the Caribbean. I read something a few years ago that most first-generation millionaires drive older used cars. Instead of forking out large monthly car payments and the resulting high insurance premiums, they save money. They saved because they are looking past the moment and seeing something in the future that took precedence over an emotional purchase that could lead them into personal financial bondage and lack.
Some people approach their finances with blinders on. They see wealth as a way to gain more things and status. As a result, they squander the ability to create generational wealth. The wise ones have another plan. They have learned to say no to reactionary spending and exercise a gift of the Spirit called self-control. They see the next generation that will either inherit their lack of discipline or their blessing. This is not about lots of money. Not everyone is destined to roll in dollar bills in this life. It’s about vision. Our vision of the future must be so other-centered that it can overcome our desire to sin, mismanage our money, or make foolish decisions that rob a future harvest of its greatest potential.
When I consider a purchase or a choice that could lead to sin or dishonor, I take a moment to envision my wife and children. It’s amazing how that image will affect those decisions. As my family comes to mind, so do those who have trusted my leadership and my voice within God’s Kingdom. Ultimately that journey of discernment will lead me to the face of God. I have not always been perfect in that process, but it is the desire of my heart. I want to leave behind something for the next generation to harvest from the labor of my personal discipleship and discipline. I don’t want to stand on the door of eternity empty-handed either in the natural or spiritual realm. I want to leave behind the wealth of God’s grace and mercy.