You may have seen a very large RV traveling down the highway. In the driver’s seat is a senior citizen, and emblazoned on the back of that RV is a bumper sticker declaring that this now retired couple is spending their children’s inheritance. Now, they have every right to spend their money any way they please, and the kids have no legal means of stopping them from doing this, but this declaration seems rather bold, maybe even brazen! They have decided to spend the inheritance before it gets passed on to the next generation.
Warren Buffett, as you may have heard, has decided that the bulk of his fortune won’t go to his children, but rather to charity. It’s not that the kids won’t get anything, but most of the inheritance is going to be shared by a much broader group of people.
Jesus once told a parable about inheritances. In this parable a son demands his share of the inheritance now. Why wait until Dad is dead to enjoy the benefits of the inheritance. Now, this is also a rather brazen demand. The son is basically telling his father to drop dead. There’s another part to this story that we rarely hear. In that day the estate went to the eldest son, who then decided if anyone else would get a share. So, this younger son was asking for something that didn’t belong to him. But the father gives him what he asks for and the son goes out and spends it all on drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Before too long it’s all gone and he finds himself on the streets, eating the left overs from the slopped hogs. You know the rest of the story. He decides to go home and see if Dad will hire him on. He knows he has no claim to sonship or the inheritance, because that’s all gone. In the end, however, there is a word of grace that restores this prodigal back to his place in the family.
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