My four sisters and I are officially “parentless.” Our 94-year-old mother recently passed away. Our father died more than 20 years before.
They met and married during World War II. After the war, they settled in Snohomish County and raised their brood of baby boomers.
As I recall, family income was enough to meet all our basic needs with little room for many luxuries. I picked commercial strawberries and raspberries for school clothes and peeled cascara bark for personal spending. There was never much thought given about inheritance.
Since I am the eldest, certain family treasures did pass to me from time to time: A venerable photo of my great-great-grandparents, O.C. Cary’s Civil War binoculars, an ancient double-barrel shotgun (it does not fire anymore, but would make Jed Clampett proud), the historic huge old family Bible and selected family photos.
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So, if my parents were not able to leave much by way of material possessions and bank accounts, what did they leave for their children? I cannot speak for my sisters, but I can express what they left for me.
My father, for example, had a job where he could work honest hours, or just goof off if he wanted to. No one was around to be sure he kept busy — but he did. Dad had an excellent work ethic.
He not only demonstrated it, but he verbally explained it to me, as well. That is a significant part of what I inherited from him. I have been “self-employed” most of my life, and knew how to work hard at it!
A daughter of a country preacher, my mother made sure we attended church and Sunday school on a regular basis. Our little gathering in Monroe felt like family to us. She passed on the virtues of personal prayer and consistent Bible study. Even though I am a “retired” minister, I still regularly practice these disciplines.
As it turns out, I am also an heir from another source. According to the Bible, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17 ESV).
These verses inform me that my heavenly father has an inheritance in store for those who follow his son, Jesus. In those early days of my growing up, we would sometimes sing a song called I’ve Got a Mansion. It looked forward to a time when believers would revel in an eternal inheritance of streets of golden and glorious material things.
While I am sure heaven is a literal and wonderful place, I am not so sure that those material things are the best part of our inheritance. There is something better awaiting us.
What could be more wonderful than to see Jesus face-to-face, forever and ever!
As surely as relationships with people are the best part of living here, I am confident that our eternal relationship with our Lord will be the best part of living there.
I thank God that, regardless of what we will or will not receive by way of material inheritances here on Earth, a better inheritance awaits us in Christ. You see, eternal access to Jesus will most certainly be the best part of our eternal inheritance.
The Rev. Richard M. Cary is a retired pastor who serves as an elder with the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God. He is a published author and attends Faith Assembly in Pasco. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick,WA 99336. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org