Gift or Curse?

If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
1 Timothy 6:8

Many parents who have been blessed financially plan to leave a large inheritance to their children. They’ve worked hard to achieve prosperity and naturally feel that their kids should benefit from their success. If you are among these generous moms and dads, we urge you to proceed with caution—great danger lies behind your good intentions.

We believe that giving large amounts of money to kids who haven’t earned it can be extremely destructive. It can make them unhappy, greedy, and cynical. It detracts from their motivation to trust in God and provides opportunities to give in to new temptations. (A sociological study published years ago, Rich Kids, validated these concerns.) It’s also been our observation that nothing divides siblings more quickly than money. Many loving families have been devasted over inheritances, or even by arguments about “Who gets Grandma’s dining-room table?”

Some people do handle wealth gracefully, of course. But if you have been blessed with material wealth, you must decide if leaving a large inheritance is worth the risk. Do you want to remove from your children the challenges that helped you succeed—the obligation to work hard, live frugally, save, build, dream, and rely on the Lord? The best counsel is available in Scripture (Proverbs 30:8): “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”

Before you say good night…

  • Are you teaching your children to trust the Lord for their daily needs?
  • What kind of inheritance do you want to leave your kids?

Thank You, Father, for the way You have provided for us through the years. Help us to trust You more and more as the days go by, that we might grow in our faith and be an example to our children. Amen.

Study released from Rich Kids by John Sedgwick (New York, N.Y.: William Morrow and Company, 1985), as quoted in Solid Answers by Dr. James Dobson (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1997).

Listen to today's broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk at  For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.