Legacy: Your Money or Your Life

The first three planks of the Communist Manifesto written by Marx and Engels in 1848 are: (1)  End private ownership of property; (2) Institute a heavy progressive income tax; and (3) End children inheriting their parents.

How did those two saboteurs of civilization come up with those three first steps to a socialist paradise?  Why not, for instance, (1) No more tall buildings; (2) Mandatory vacations; and (3) Beef for everyone on Wednesdays?

The reason that Marx and Engels made the three choices they did is because of how they answer the ultimate human question: “How did we get here?”  There are only two possible answers: (1) God created us.  (2) By a lengthy process of unaided materialistic evolution, lower level animals like cockroaches evolved into higher level animals like baboons and humans.

Marx and Engels start with an irrational rejection of God.  That leaves them with no choice but answer number two above.  The logical next step is that we humans are nothing but another species of animal.  Since no animals own property, neither should we.  Since no cows or sheep accumulate milk or wool but hand it all over to the farmer, so should we hand over all we accumulate to our farmers in centralized government.

Finally, since no animals retain a closer relationship with their own offspring than with any other animals, neither should we.  When someone dies, his possessions should benefit all children, not just his own. Communists dream of a one hundred percent ‘Estate Tax’ or as it is more appropriately called, ‘Death Tax’.

Those who decide differently on the ultimate question of how we got here correctly conclude that through the Bible, God clearly expresses His preference for everyone owning property.  Furthermore, a tax to a central authority of greater than ten percent is viewed as confiscatory. (I Samuel 8:15).

Finally, God could hardly be clearer that government has no role in the sacred transfer of property from parents to children that we call inheritance  (Numbers 27:6-11).  There is nothing virtuous or Biblical about the statements frequently made by super-successful individuals like Andrew Carnegie or Warren Buffett when they suggest that there is something wrong with dying wealthy.  There is nothing wrong with dying wealthy and bequeathing your children a legacy. On the contrary, that legacy is part of God’s plan for parent-child connectivity.

From interactions with audience members at the financial conferences I often address, I have learned that when they speak of “legacy” people mean both financial and spiritual.  Not only do we want to leave our children fiscal assets but we equally deeply desire to leave them a spiritual legacy.  We hope that the money they acquire from us after we join God will help them and their children live successfully.  We hope that the spiritual and ethical teachings that we leave them will play an even more significant role in helping them live successfully.

Nobody who gives the correct first answer to the ultimate human question will be surprised to hear that in the Lord’s language, Hebrew, Scripture uses the same two words to speak of financial (tangible) inheritance as it does to speak of spiritual inheritance.  The words are NaCHaLaH and YeRuSHaH. The latter is often transliterated as Jerushah, which was a popular and beautiful girl’s name in Colonial America.


…the Lord is his NaCHaLaH… (spiritual inheritance)

(Deuteronomy 10:9)

…to give you their land as a NaCHaLaH (tangible inheritance)

(Deuteronomy 4:38)

God commanded us the Torah as a YeRuSHaH (spiritual inheritance)

(Deuteronomy 33:4)

…and I will give it [the Land of Israel] to you as a YeRuSHaH…  (tangible inheritance)

(Exodus 6:8)

By demonstrating the strong link between a financial legacy and a spiritual legacy, the Bible is teaching us that spiritual strengths build financial strength and make you a wise steward of wealth.  Thus it makes sense to convey to your heirs, not only the financial result of your enterprises but also the spiritual principles that guided you in those enterprises.

In that way, you can reasonably expect your children to further build what you bequeath to them rather than dissipate it.  You can also expect them to continue using their money to support your values. Dissipating and squandering wealth or rejecting parents’ morals often happens in families that transfer assets without matching spiritual guidance.

Much of my life work has been collecting and condensing spiritual principles of money.  You might already possess Thou Shall Prosper and Business Secret of the Bible in your library.  However, now I am imploring you to acquire copies for each of your children. Inscribe the books and gift them to your children helping them understand the importance you place on the principles contained therein.  If there are young people not related to you but whom you mentor, I ask you to consider doing the same.  There are enormous financial challenges lying ahead and it is not too early to equip young people with the spiritual tools so vital for financial success.

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