In a recent episode of the Emmy® Award winning British costume drama Downton Abbey, eldest daughter Lady Mary is touring a neighboring estate with her fiancé Sir Richard Carlisle, a ruthless newspaper magnate with more money than scruples.
Casting a dubious gaze at the cavernous home her future husband intends to purchase, Mary inquires skeptically, “And how are we to furnish this place?”
“We’ll buy all that we need,” Carlisle responds blithely.
Unimpressed, Mary comments, “That’s what your kind does.”
Undaunted, Richard replies, “And what does your kind do?”
“We inherit,” fires back Lady Mary.
I remembered that scene as I was dusting this past Saturday. Like many Americans of my generation, my grandparents immigrated to this country from Europe and brought virtually no possessions with them. I cherish the few pieces we have that connect us to them: the oak wall clock that my grandfather wound by hand, the caned love seat that had pride of place in my grandmother’s 1920 parlor.
But our living room is also furnished with a sofa table picked up at a neighbor’s garage sale and wing chairs hauled home from a consignment shop. Our English maple dining room table was a flea market find. We purchased the demi lune in the entry from the previous owners. Every cabinet in our kitchen held someone else’s dishes before housing ours. Virtually nothing in our entire home has been purchased new, and I like it that way. Each piece tells a story. The simple act of dusting is like reading a slightly tattered but well-loved novel.
So what “kind” does this make me, I wondered?
Whether nouveau riche or toujours poor, we all furnish our dwellings with things that are handed down or handed over in exchange for currency. Some may receive quite a lot from ancestors; others absolutely nothing at all.
But there is one inheritance that is available to all of us.
It doesn’t involve coming from wealth, but rather coming into it.
It doesn’t depend on mortal grandeur, but rather divine grace.
It’s not about what we surround ourselves with now but what’s waiting for us then.
I love watching Downton Abbey and imagining what it might be like to wear such gorgeous gowns and dine on meals prepared by loyal servants. My garage-sale treasures and flea-market finds wouldn’t much impress the Crawley family.
But every year that passes I am growing closer to coming into an inheritance that would make even the Countess Dowager Violet swoon in envy. It’s the birthright of all who place their faith in the One our Father sent to redeem us – to buy us back from the darkness to which the enemy of our souls would have us consigned.
The Apostle Peter described it this way: “We have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” (1 Peter 1:4).
It’s an inheritance that cannot be earned nor bought but has been freely, sacrificially given. It is ours by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s the kind of inheritance our kind – your kind – all kinds of people may one day claim.
And I’m kinda excited about that. You too?