Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

I spend a lot of time worrying about what my daughter will inherit. She is an only child, and I want to make sure that when I and her father are gone, she will be financially secure and will never want for anything.  It is what most parents want for their children.

However, lately I’ve been thinking that my view of inheritance is too narrow. When I see young people struggling today, it isn’t because they lack material things.  They struggle because they haven’t inherited the one thing that really matters – faith.  Faith that there is a God.  Faith that He loves them.  Faith that is so strong that they want their lives to be in service to Him.

The greatest gift my parents gave me was to take me to church when I was little. That simple weekly act snowballed in my life.  As a teenager, when I no longer was required to go to church by my parents, I kept going to our town’s United Methodist Church anyway.  I walked to church in all kinds of weather by myself on Sunday mornings.  I also was involved in the youth group on Sunday evenings.  And somewhere along the way, I came to realize that God was with me.  In my loneliest moments, I knew that I was not alone.  And over the years, serving Him increasingly has become the focus of my life.

When I see young people struggling, I know it is because they haven’t been given that gift of faith. As a result, they don’t live within their means.  Instead, they spend their money on things they can’t afford in an effort to satisfy a spiritual emptiness that cannot be fulfilled by material items.  They drink too much alcohol or use drugs because they feel sad or alone and don’t know that God is there for them.  They don’t work hard, and they fail to hold themselves to a high standard of behavior because their lives are about them – not about serving God.

For those of us who know the blessing of having a faith in God, we so desperately want our children to have that same blessing. The problem is that you can’t hit young people over the head with faith.  You can’t force them to believe in God.  So there are only two things you can do.  First, can you expose them to the concept of God.  You can take them to religious services, give them books to read about faith and send them for religious instruction.  Second, you can live a faith-based life.  You can set an example of what it means to live a life in service to God.  And then hopefully somewhere along the line, they will come to know that God is there for them.  And more importantly, they will decide on their own that a life in service to Him is far better than any life they could dream up on their own.

Our responsibility to pass along the inheritance of faith to young people doesn’t merely extend to our own children. It extends to all children with whom we come in contact.  Interestingly, I was not the person who started my daughter on her faith journey.  It was her grandmother.  Out of the blue, her grandmother gave her a book called, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  You may have heard of it.  My daughter was given the “kids” version, and for whatever reason, the book was very effective.  For two years, my daughter read that book every night before she went to sleep.  She eventually moved on to other Christian inspiration books, but that is the one that got her started.  God works in mysterious and unpredictable ways.

This week, consider the inheritance that you are leaving for the children in your life. Are you guiding them toward a faith in God that will sustain them through hard times?  Are you setting an example of the benefits of living a life that is in service to God?  We can leave our children a multitude of things when we die, but the greatest inheritance we can give them is a faith that God loves them and that serving Him truly is the way to a happy life.

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