A study done over 20 years determined that 70% of all families fight over their portion of an inheritance. It was done over an extended period to see if different generations would act differently. There was no change.
The first story about this sad reality comes from a 65-year-old man named James, who ended up in a coma after a car accident. James was a wealthy man and grew up with that wealth. But then he found himself lying in a bed, fighting for his life. Plot twist: while he was in the coma, he could still hear, and he listened to his 5 children talking by his bedside.
The oldest expressed her want for the Miami beach house, the second argued for the same, the third tearfully told the two to stop, and the youngest shared the belief that she was the favorite and would get everything. Even the sweetest of the 5 children, who James hoped would save the conversation, only said, “Can we leave yet? I hate hospitals, and this is a waste of time.”
Several weeks later, James miraculously came out of the coma, and his nurse asked if he wanted her to call his kids. He responded, “No, but can you call my lawyer?” He changed his will just 2 days before he died.
Then there was Jay. He was a multi-billionaire whose 2 grandchildren filed a lawsuit against their parents for $1 million because they cheated them out of that share of their trusts. Their own parents!
In both stories, all of the people fighting are already among the wealthiest people on the planet. However, you’d never know it by their actions. They’re behaving as if there’s not enough to go around, as if they don’t have enough, or as if some real injustice had occurred.
No one is acting grateful for the wealth they actually inherited. Instead, they act entitled, like they did something to deserve or earn the inheritance.
Jesus’s blood washes away our sins, making the provision for God’s wrath to be satisfied through our faith in Him because Jesus’s resurrection provides us the living hope of a future inheritance.
This living hope is an eager, confident expectation of the life we know is going to come, made possible through the resurrection of Jesus. That’s why baptism is such a powerful image of what we experience when we come to faith in Jesus. We become a new creation. The old life is gone.
And now we have this living hope which is this confident expectation in what we will inherit when we die or when Christ returns to take us home. The inheritance is heaven itself. And that’s an inheritance that can’t be taxed! The IRS can’t touch this one!
For anyone who has been cheated out of an inheritance, written out of a will, or had to deal with greedy siblings, this message can touch an emotional nerve as it did for the original recipients of Peter’s letter.
Believing Jews had been kicked out of their synagogues, homes, or families because of their faith in Jesus. We might not have been exiled, but maybe some of us have been made to feel like outcasts. These early followers of Jesus also felt that to a degree.
They did come together to form churches in their communities, but that could never make up for the profound loss and feeling of loss they experienced for their belief in Jesus. However, imagine these same people hearing they have this great, glorious, eternal inheritance. What an amazing restoration of everything taken from them, including the emotional toll it took on them.
And now, what about you? If you’ve trusted in Jesus to forgive your sin and made Him Lord of your life, that same inheritance Peter is writing about is also yours.
No one else can claim it because the executor is the same person who made the investments into it, and HE still lives because He was raised from the dead! That’s why we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It’s why we have a living hope.
And we need that living hope. We need this message of an eternal inheritance because it makes the life we have to live on this earth worth it. And not just worth it, but overjoyed and willing to go through all the trials and struggles we do because the end is so beautiful, perfect, pure, and everlasting.
During one of our recent missions trips, the church had the opportunity to serve lunch and give testimonies to between 20-30 people working in a garbage dump. As bad as conditions you could imagine, with the reality being 10 times worse.
Missionaries pull up in a flatbed truck and are greeted by pastors playing music and worshiping. A few people working in the dump sing along and dance on top of the garbage in rubber boots and flip-flops. Their joy is so great and pure.
What a perfect illustration they are of this passage! Their faith is so genuine because they have that eternal living hope. This starkly contrasts those mentioned at the beginning of this blog, whose selfishness drove them to fight with the same people they’re supposed to be closest to in the world.
Although we can’t express the joy we feel about that in words, our actions and lives should do a much better job communicating what words cannot. We say “should do” here because not everyone who believes in Jesus has the same peace and joy described here.
There are some who, when their faith is tried, or they suffer grief, become bitter, angry, resentful, hurtful, hateful, or depressed.
So, what are you communicating through your actions? Are you holding too tightly to the things this world can offer you that you can’t relate to the inexpressible and glorious joy Peter is writing about? Or are you living a life that reflects the great inheritance that waits for you in glory?
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