My great-great-great-grandfather, Levi Garrison Pyle (an “s” was added to the family name in the following generation), signed his Last Will and Testament on March 20, 1851, in the Ebenezer community of Marshall County, Tennessee. He directed that his “much beloved wife” Stacy receive his farm of 163 acres, along with “my sorrel mare, one cow and calf, one wash pot, two beds, and one woman’s saddle.” Remaining property was to be sold and the proceeds used to pay off debts. Levi’s will also stipulated that if Stacy remarried, the land was to be sold and the proceeds equally divided between her and their children. Within the next month, Levi was dead, the will was probated, and an estate sale was held on April 19, 1851. That was over 150 years ago. I don’t know of anything that remains of Levi’s estate. The mare, cow, and calf would have only lived for a few years. The house has long been gone. Who knows what happened to the wash pot, beds, and saddle? The land has changed hands several times since then and is now owned (along with a total of 2,000 surrounding acres) by a media magnate from Maryland. Such is the nature of earthly possessions and inheritance.

When Jesus began His earthly ministry, he proclaimed a new message, “the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23). His teaching revealed God’s plan and designs for a new covenant, a new testament, a new “will” of God, not just for the physical descendants of Abraham, but for all nations, tribes and tongues. Just as with an earthly will, these new divine directives from Jesus would only have full binding force and authority upon His death (Hebrews 9:16-17). With His “blood of the covenant” that we memorialize each Lord’s Day, Jesus made available “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away” which is reserved in heaven for us (I Peter 1:4). The few family heirlooms that I possess and value will one day fade away just like every other physical treasure upon this earth, but through Jesus I have the assurance of a heavenly inheritance “where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-21). “Lord, help my heart to dwell where my true treasure is!”