“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22.)

My father was a good man and this year he left an inheritance for his children and grandchildren. I’ve been wanting to find a tasteful way of writing about it. I came across this verse this morning and feel like it provides a good springboard for writing. Best of all, it is found in Proverbs! Chapter 13 on top of it–so I know my Dad read these words every birthday for almost 40 years.)

My Dad worked at Ford Motor Company for about 30 years. He was a Grade 9 executive and I believe his top salary was around $49K. He retired at the age of 58 and lived another 30 years as a retiree. He and my Mom lived well enough, but they were cautious (though generous) with their money. During his last year when he and I discussed possible changes in his living situation I asked him how much of his choices related to cost and he said “all of it.” I reminded him that they money was there for him, but his focus was on being able to “help you”

And so, we have been blessed with quite a bit of “help” this year. My brothers and I have really been impressed with how well Dad managed his money and kept it for an inheritance. He’d already given each of his 10 grandchildren a financial and spiritual inheritance in providing them with money for a year of Bible school. He’d helped with loans through the years as he saw fit. But now he was leaving a sizable chunk of money to be divided between the three of us.

More importantly, he left us an example and a sense of responsibility in how we use the money. He didn’t say a thing about it. He left no letters telling us what to do with it. (This actually surprised me a bit because many of his earlier gifts came with specific instructions and guidelines.)

We (the Hurnis) have enjoyed trying to bless our family and others with this inheritance. One goal that we have is that it will provide an ongoing fund for trips between America and New Zealand, allowing us to strengthen family ties across many miles. We also hope to provide our grandkids with a year of Bible school. It’s also been nice to have some “fun money” for a few crazy purchases 🙂

My brother also reminded us to “tithe” our inheritance (sadly, that was not my first thought!) and we’ve actually enjoyed finding thoughtful ways to disperse it, an ongoing process.

Dad was a good man. Like many others in his generation, he was frugal and cautious about his money. He was also generous and thoughtful. I have to tell one story from his last year of life that was really delightful:

Last fall, during a visit, Dad wanted to be taken to Kohl’s to buy towels for the Detroit City Rescue Mission. He needed my sister-in-law to go with us because she had a Kohl’s charge and could get 30% off using it. On the way there, he quietly said that he wanted to spend $500 on the towels. Oh-kay. He had picked out a specific type of white towel and waited for a sale. He’d calculated the additional 30%. He wanted to go into the store and pay for it and have someone from the mission pick up the towels, but when we inquired the cashier told him they wouldn’t have that many towels in any store and that we should order them over the phone. An hour later, we left having purchased 253 towels worth $2500 at full cost ($9.99 each) on sale for $3.99 plus 30% off, plus free shipping and a handful of Kohl’s Bucks on top of it. (My sister-in-law had decided to throw in an extra $250.) And before Dad left, he shuffled over to one of the cashiers to tell her he’d noticed how hard she was working. What a great experience!

I now know more of what it means to have an inheritance:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us new birth into….and inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade away–kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:1, 4.)

The “gold” that my Dad left for us will fade away, but the example of a good man and the inheritance he left for us is already blessing us in unimaginable ways. (1 Peter 1:7.)

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