The term “legacy” in Christian terms refers to the memory of what we leave behind. For example, you may want your legacy to be how to follow and love God—exemplified through the way you live your life now that will have a profound lasting effect on your heirs when you’re gone. And for those Christians who’ve been blessed with great wealth—perhaps your legacy is to guide your heirs on how to think about and how to utilize the wealth that you gave them for the impact of God’s Kingdom.
The Bible says that money is the root of all evil, but money can also be the seed of generosity, and it is generosity that can leave a legacy of giving or a legacy of self-centered, egocentric narcissism. The Legacy of Wealth is a Legacy of Giving.
Was there ever a time when giving got out of control?
Yes! When the Jews were exiting Egypt, they left with incredible wealth. Moses came down from Mt. Sinai and reported that God wanted them to build a tabernacle for Him to dwell in. Whether it was jewelry or gold or fine linen or onyx stones, the Israelites gave and gave. It was one of the only times recorded in the Old Testament that they were ordered to stop giving because what they had given was more than enough needed.
This was a story of what happens when God’s people get out of control in their motivation to give. So what prompted this kind of out-of-control giving? I think there are four lessons to learn from this story:
Giving will get out of control when God’s people catch a bigger vision
This story of the Israelites started with a strong leader who had a clear vision and was able to effectively articulate that vision and the plan to achieve it. Moses had the blueprints for the tabernacle. God’s people were challenged to embrace a vision that was substantially bigger and more challenging than anything they could envision themselves, and they embraced the vision and exceeded all expectations in supporting it as a result.
Giving will get out of control when God’s people surrender themselves to the Lord
I use the word surrender rather than submit for a reason. To submit means to give IN. We submit to the authorities over us not necessarily because we like what they are doing or agree with their actions, but because we are commanded to do so. Surrender, on the other hand, is to give UP. In this case, there is no objection, no resistance, no biting our lip, no holding our tongue and reluctantly obeying. We completely surrender our will, our opinion, and our self-interests.
When God’s people finally and fully surrender (give up) to God instead of just submit (give in) giving will happen.
Giving will get out of control when God’s people attune their hearts to the Voice of the Holy Spirit
We see this repeatedly mentioned in the story of the Israelites. It says the spirit moved them, their hearts were stirred, and the people were filled with the Spirit of God.
When God’s people tune their “inner radio” to the right frequency – of God’s voice instead of the frequency of worldly values, an eruption of generosity is poised to happen. Sadly most pastors, ministers, and church leaders have guided people to give according to a formula like a tithe rather than encouraging them to look to the Holy Spirit for direction.
Giving will get out of control when God’s people experience joy in giving.
The Israelites experienced an unprecedented amount of joy in their giving. They had overflowing joy. They urgently pleaded for the privilege of sharing and gave beyond their ability.
How can we increase our joy in giving? One way would be to see the results of our giving. A recent survey said that giving that gave the least amount of joy—was giving to the church (building, admin, programming, salaries, etc.). The reason being is because the church does a very poor job of connecting their numbers to the impact of the what’s being given. There is great joy in supporting a needy child in a third world country. Why? It is because they are connecting to the recipient and to the outcome.
Connecting giving to specific outcomes opens the door for increased joy, peace and assurance. And the more joy we have in giving, the more we will give. If you want to leave a lasting Legacy with your wealth for your children, (1) embrace a bigger vision, (2) totally surrender to the Lord, (3) listen to the Holy Spirit, and (4) make your giving a joyous experience—and above all share all of this with your children. Then, look out!
Download this free ebook that will help you understand what’s possible once you discover how to become a better steward by eliminating taxes by focusing on Kingdom causes that will enable you to build an enduring family legacy.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring
about significant impact for His Kingdom.