Inheritance: The importance of planning ahead

Rev David Reid

6.11.2021 | Mission in Ireland, Farming & Rural Life

For many years, one of the biggest issues in farming has been succession planning – passing the family business to the next generation. In his blog, Rev David Reid writes that for some farming is in the blood and the farmer can hand the farm on with confidence. Others, however, are not so blessed. While we all make provision for what will happen here on earth after we are gone, David poses the question ‘…what will your inheritance be when you leave this earth, where will you spend eternity?’

Many of Northern Ireland’s farms have been in the same families for many years, handed down from one generation to the next. What a blessing it is for a farmer to have a son or daughter who wants to carry on the family business after they are gone.

I was speaking to two different farmers recently; one man has retired and let the farm because his son was not interested in it. He told me, “I can’t blame him; he will have a much easier life than I have ever had.” The other man’s son loves the farm and is taking over more and more responsibility for it. His dad told me, “I would not still be working as hard as I am if he did not want to farm.”

It’s in the blood

For many of our younger farmers farming is in their blood, it is all they have ever wanted to do from very early in life. They love the outdoor life and would never consider any other job. When they find a wife or a husband with the same interests, the future looks good especially when the next generation begins to take an interest as well.

I was in a home recently where the three-year-old had all his toy tractors sitting in a line one after the other. When I asked him why he replied, “It’s a tractor run.” When you see these younger generations coming on in the farms you know that farming and the countryside are in good hands. Inheritance, and the ability of the farmer to hand the farm on with confidence to the next generation, is important. How good it is to hear of a farm that has been in one family for many years.

The Bible speaks to us of a great inheritance and of Christians being born again “…into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4.)

A different kind of inheritance

In the farming context the farm is usually passed down through the family, children inherit what has been their parents’. It is the same with this great inheritance of heaven. When we repent of our sin and trust in Jesus as our Saviour we are adopted into the family of God becoming His sons and daughters. We gain the inheritance because we are part of the family of God. Our eternal home is with our great Father in Heaven.

Wise farmers make provision for who is to inherit the farm. They write their will to ensure that their wishes are carried out, so that the farm is secured for future generations.

The problem is that many make provision for what will happen here on earth after they are gone, but give no thought to where they will be themselves when they pass on into eternity.

It is good and right to make these earthly plans, but we also need to make plans for eternity by accepting Jesus, freely offered in the Gospel. Farmers want the farm to prosper and the family to thrive after they have gone, but they must also make plans for their future in eternity. So what will your inheritance be when you leave this earth, where will you spend eternity?

Rev David Reid is minister of Ardstraw and Douglas Presbyterian Churches in West Tyrone. He is married to Valerie and they have four children and two grandchildren. David was a full-time farmer for 18 years before being called to the Ministry.

His blog appeared in a fortnightly column entitled ‘Good News For the Countryside’ in today’s Farming Life, where people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life.

You can look at other blogs in this series here.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev Kenny Hanna at or call him on +44 (0)28 9753 1234. 

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