How to Choose Your Heirs (And How God Sorts Out His)

Chris —  September 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

The below story by Tim Keller is powerful. But, first, remind yourself of the biblical text. 

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”(Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)

Tim Keller shares the following in his book Generous Justice:

Some years ago I heard a man relate the experience of a wealthy older woman that he once knew. She had never married and had no children to serve as heirs. She had only one close relative, a nephew, who hoped to inherit her money. He had always been gracious and attentive in her presence, but she had heard things from others that made her doubt her impression. The disposal of her wealth was no small matter. She had to be sure that the person who received it would use it wise and generously. So she decided to take matters into her own hands. One morning she dressed in tattered clothes, appearing to be a homeless person, and lay on the steps of his urban town house. When he came out, he cursed at her and told her to leave or he would call the police. And so she knew what his heart was really like. His response to the poor woman revealed his true nature.*

*Keller shares that he heard the illustration used and he has been unable to confirm if it happened or if it is composed. Either way, it makes a biblical point.

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