The Thing You Cannot Inherit

 

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One day, I started thinking about the things I can’t take with me when I depart this life. I made a list of my possessions and who is to receive them. Most of these items only have sentimental value, some having belonged to my mother or grandmother. But, I was soon in a quandary as I thought about my most important possession and about how in the world would I be able to pass it down. How could I possibly leave it for my loved ones, those who hadn’t even been born yet? There is but one thing I cannot give my descendants. Alas, I was filled with sorrow. It seems – you can’t inherit spiritual life. The assurance of spiritual life can only be acquired by a personal decision. It is not mine to give away, not even to my children, grandchildren, family and friends. I can’t pass it down like the deed to a house.

I asked God, what was He thinking? What provision had he made for my offspring? He assured me He had not forgotten, but part of the responsibility fell to me and my children. He reminded me of Joel 1:3 “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” This did not satisfy me. What if I’ve told my children and they don’t tell theirs?

yatesfamilytree

Do you remember the story of Jonah and the big fish? God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent, but Jonah didn’t want to go. He went sailing instead, ended up in the sea and was swallowed by a big fish. Jonah spent three days in the belly of that fish before he decided to go to Nineveh as God commanded. The fish expelled him and off he went to Nineveh. Jonah preached repentance to a sinful Nineveh and the people repented and God saved them. This gentile city came to know the one true and living God. What a privilege! And, they and all their generations lived happily ever after…NOT!

Later, in the Old Testament, in the book of Nahum, one hundred years later, all the people of Nineveh had returned to their wicked ways. How could this have happened? To know God is to know true love. How did they lose something so valuable? They failed to pass down the stories; to teach repentance, observance, and the importance of sharing with the next generation. Because of their wickedness, God wiped them from the face of the earth.

Redemption cannot be inherited. Oh, my children, be alert. For the sake of your children, open your eyes. Because of my love for you, read below and heed my advice.

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When I was a little girl, my father used to tease me, telling me I had to go to school to learn the three “R’s; reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic! He was joking about the essentials of an education—learning to read, write, and the compilation of arithmetic, or numbers. Still, there is a lesson there. Truth is—for my family after me, I’d like to challenge them with the three “L’s – Listen, Live, and Love.

Listen to obtain faith – “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”[1] Jesus said, “I have come not to judge the world, but to save the world.”[2] “He who has ears, let him hear.”[3]

Live for Jesus – pick up your cross daily and follow Christ, for “he who shall gain his life will lose it, and he who will lose his life for my sake will gain it.”[4]

Love – “God is love.”[5] You love God “only because he first loved you.”[6] Get to know God so that you may know love. “No greater love hath man than that he gives his life for another.”[7] “The greatest of these is love.”[8] “They will know you are my disciples if you have love one for the other.”[9]

In these three “L’s” is a more abundant life—one not only anticipated in eternity, but lived here on earth as well. This is the definition of spiritual life, one I acquired by asking Jesus to come into my heart and to forgive me of my sins. Through His death on the cross, He made it possible for me to decide to follow Him.

If given the choice between life and death, how many would choose life? All of us! Yet, many are the numbers of those who don’t. It’s a mystery to me. Listen, Live, Love and pass it down.

[1] Romans 10:17

[2] John 12:47

[3] Matthew 11:15

[4] Matthew 16:25

[5] I John 4:8

[6] I John 4:19

[7] John 15:13

[8] I Corinthians 13:13

[9] John 13:35

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