Thursday, May 3, 2012

Leaving it all behind

Have you ever really thought about what you are leaving behind. What are you working so hard for? What will happen to your fortune? What will your children and grandchildren do with the stuff you leave behind? As you probably know, once you are gone you have no more control over what happens to everything you worked so hard to achieve. Your kids may sell your antique convertible Cadillac, they may throw your prized baseball card collection in the community garage sale and get a few measly bucks for them. What about all the money you saved, what if they squander it on lottery tickets. What if they invest it in a really bad real estate deal that goes belly up.

As I was reading the other morning I came across a passage that described King Solomon's wealth and after I read it I had a thought come to mind. Take a look and I will finish my thought below.

I Kings 10: 14-23 - 14  Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 15 besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land. 16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of gold went into each shield. 17 And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. And the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 18 The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and the throne had a round top, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, 20 while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom. 21 All King Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

23  Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.
Verse 14 says that 666 talents of gold came to Solomon in one year. In today's dollars and the current price of gold we can calculate this to be about $1.3 billion just in gold in only one year. And that was just his salary, he had bonuses and gifts that some scholars think would have taken his net worth just north of $100 billion. That's a lot of money and possessions. So here is my question: Where is that money and gold now?

It went to his children and they blew it. About all we have left from Solomon's wealth and possessions are a few fragments of pottery and a few pieces of decorations that we think came from his temple. Look at what Solomon says about what we work so hard for and what happens when we die:

Ecclesiastes 2: 18, 19 - 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.
All our stuff that we leave behind will one day be gone. If Solomon and all of his wisdom could not figure out how to make his wealth last do we really think we can? So what do we do with this. What do we do for our children and our grandchildren. I think we need to focus on leaving something that is more valuable than material wealth. We leave them with a powerful testimony. We leave them an example of a godly life. We leave them a story of God's faithfulness in our lives. Take a look at a couple of examples:

Luke 1: 3,4 - 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

John 21: 24,25 - 24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Both Luke and John wrote about what God did and they left it for the next generation and the next and the next... I am not saying that my story or your story is at the same level as the Bible but I do believe that our testimony is far more valuable that our material riches for those who are left behind when we are gone. So I leave you with this question. What are you pursuing and what are you leaving behind? Solomon's riches are gone but his story remains. What of yours and mine will remain when we are gone?

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