Pentecost +19 - Year B
Our tendency is to ask what will come our way without any work on our part. What is our due and when will it arrive? This is the built-in temptation with inheritance and why John Wesley and other saints say that it works against our spirit.
“Inheritance” language works in two contrary modes.
Spiritually, inheritance is a subcategory of hope. It is what our picture of a better future is all about.
Literally, economically, inheritance is an illusion. A 100% inheritance tax would reclaim money earned at the expense of others and return it to the commonwealth that basically made it possible to earn so much. All other taxes may be able to be done away with if we saw income as a public issue, not a private one. It is penny-wise and dollar-foolish.
John Wesley wrote of the folly of saving for your children/heirs in his sermon, On Money:
“Do not leave it to them to throw away. If you have good reason to believe they would waste what is now in your possession, in gratifying, and thereby increasing, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life; at the peril of theirs and your own soul, do not set these traps in their way. Do not offer your sons or your daughters unto Belial, any more than unto Moloch. Have pity upon them, and remove out of their way what you may easily foresee would increase their sins, and consequently plunge them deeper into everlasting perdition! How amazing then is the infatuation of those parents who think they can never leave their children enough! What! cannot you leave them enough of arrows, firebrands, and death? not enough of foolish and hurtful desires? not enough of pride, lust, ambition, vanity? not enough of everlasting burnings? Poor wretch! thou fearest where no fear is. . . .”
The better way is to travel with Jesus and turn the question from inheritance to investment. Invest in the poor, in the community as a whole. Here you will find your hope brought to life. Here is the greatest return.