Proverbs 20:21

An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning
will not be blessed in the end.

Sudden wealth, whether it be through inheritance or winning the lottery or some scheme, as often as not creates trouble. Wealth, as with power and fame, carries its own dangers of corrupting the owner and creating anxiety over its protection. Jesus noted how difficult it was for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Sudden wealth brings with it further troubles. Because it does not come from the fruit of his labor, the recipient does not measure its true cost. Not knowing what it takes to earn the wealth, he also does not know how to maintain it. He either becomes overly protective of it or too loose with it. It is difficult to be wise with something gained without wisdom.

Wisdom is also needed for the affect one’s wealth has on others. The suddenly wealthy person discovers friends and relatives he did not know he had; he also finds that the ones he has known change in the way they treat him. He is regarded more highly. He is praised and befriended by many. Pride rushes into his head which inevitably leads to his downfall. But these friends and relatives are not merely infatuated with him; they want a share in his wealth and do their own scheming to get it. There are others who now resent him for his luck. Why should he get the inheritance? What did he do to earn it? And so troubles come from them.

We all dream of what it would be like to come into sudden wealth, to be surprised by the uncle we did not know existed but who left his money to us. Let us dream, rather, of what it would be like to see the fruit of our labors. Let us be stirred on not by winning the lottery, but by the steady progress and fruit that comes from wise planning and diligent labor.

But then do dream and do give thanks for the one inheritance that has come without labor and quite surprisingly. Dream of that inheritance that awaits us in heaven, given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, protected by God the Father, and for which even we are protected by the Holy Spirit. Is it not wondrous that the greatest inheritance is the one most secure and the only one in which the more we dream of it and value it, the more blessed and productive we become? Read about it 1 Peter 1:3-9.

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