Daily Devotional

For Apr 22, 2014 ← Return

Dog Inheritance

AN AMAZING FACT:  Billionaire and New York City real estate investor Leona Helmsley was a flamboyant personality with a reputation for tyrannical behavior. She earned the nickname “Queen of Mean” for her apparently heartless and vindictive behavior with employees and contractors. When convicted of federal income tax evasion and other crimes in 1989, Helmsley’s fate was sealed when a former housekeeper testified during the trial that she had heard Leona once say, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” The saying followed her for the rest of her life.

But when it came to her beloved dog, a Maltese called Trouble, the Queen of Mean was all heart. When Leona Helmsley died on August 20, 2007, she left $12 million of her estimated $8 billion estate for the upkeep of her eight-year-old pooch, even as two of her grandchildren got nothing. Fortune Magazine awarded this decision with 3rd place in their 2007 “101 Dumbest Moments in Business." The court eventually reduced the dog’s inheritance to $2 million, saying it was more than adequate. Eleven-year-old Trouble lives in Florida with his caretaker in Helmsley's Sandcastle Hotel. Trouble’s caretaker stated that the $2 million will pay for the dog’s maintenance for more than 10 years—providing $100,000 for full-time security, $8,000 for grooming, and $1,200 for food. The caretaker is paid $60,000 a year for a guardian fee.

In 2012, Americans spent $52 billion on their pets—more than the gross domestic product of most of the world’s countries. That’s almost double the amount shelled out on pets a decade earlier. Food costs were $20 billion alone, and $4 billion went to grooming. About 62 percent of all households in the U.S. own pets (which is actually down from when surveys were first conducted in 1988).

God obviously loves animals and created pets for our enjoyment. The Lord even notices when a small sparrow falls to the ground (Matthew 10:29). But Jesus also said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matthew 7:6). Dogs and pigs were
considered unclean scavengers in the Bible and are used to illustrate how we should carefully use our resources. It would be good to think about how we leave our inheritances. Are we remembering to be rich toward God?

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
- Matthew 7:6

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