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BIBLE DIFFICULTIES Chapter 13
Proverbs 13:22 – Is there an absolute obligation for believers to leave an inheritance to their children or grandchildren?
Proverbs 13:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his son’s sons,
but the sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
This harmonizes with the apostle Paul’s counsel in I Timothy 5:8, which reads, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, [I.e., relatives] and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” However, Jesus said exhorted us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” (Matt. 6:19). Jesus also said, “Give to everyone who asks you.” (Lu 6:30) The problem comes in when we consider what seems to be conflicting counsel. How do we not store up treasures, give to everyone who asks, and still acquire enough money to leave an inheritance for our children?
The above exhortations, counsel, or advice are not absolutes and should be taken in a balanced manner, regardless of what our yearly income is. Jesus talked about giving money to others, but he never said to give it away foolishly or give it all away. Proverbs 21:20 says, ‘a foolish man devours his money.’ The love of money is the root of all injurious things. (1 Timothy 6:10) Money can become an idol to man. (Luke 18:22) When Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matt. 6:19), he meant do not chase after, idolize, the almighty dollar. Jesus’ message is to be prudent regarding our income and not make money our primary concern in life. He encourages you “not be anxious about your soul, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25) We are not to spend every waking moment to build up our treasures here on earth. – Matthew 6:19-20.
Nevertheless, he never said we were not to save and invest our money to plan our future. We live as though Jesus will return tomorrow; that is, we maintain our righteous standing. We plan as though Jesus will return in fifty years; that is, we take care of our families and neighbors, get educations, build a career, and most importantly, carry out our ministries. In fact, Jesus gave us parables about investing in our futures. (Matt. 25:14-30), as well as counting the cost before making large purchases. (Luke 14:28) Jesus never meant, nor did any early Christians ever take him as meaning, that we should go to the extreme in giving all our finances away because Jesus said, “Give to everyone who asks you.” (Lu 6:30) Early Christianity never supported any kind of socialism or communism, regardless of misinterpreted verses today. (See Acts 2:44-45) Verses like Acts 2:44-45 are not prescriptive, but rather they are simply descriptive. Moreover, this was a temporary solution, not some permanent arrangement. Furthermore, helping the needy was strictly voluntary, not government-commanded or even church-commanded, not even God-commanded. Lastly, they only gave part of their belongings to help the poor, not everything they owned.
Most of the early Christians own their own homes and property, even additional property in some cases. So, the early Christians had income, property, and possessions, which they use part to help others while they were alive and to provide for their family when they died. The sensible, wise believer gives of his possessions first to God (Matt. 6:19, 33), then they take care of their family and thereafter other believers (1 Tim. 5:8), followed by, within their means, they helped the poor. – Galatians 2:10.
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