For most people the largest single act of stewardship they do will be their estate plan and the bequests made from their lifetime of accumulated assets. That can be a time of difficult decisions – and important ones.
Sadly, while family, hospitals, universities and others are often considered as beneficiaries in estate planning, far too often, God is forgotten. The local church that was God’s way of meeting you, nurturing you, growing you spiritually and blessing you with fellowship should not be forgotten in your estate plans.
But to make it even more complicated, true stewardship is far more than just money. Stewardship is about everything God has given you, even what you have earned and worked for so hard. If you think you worked hard to earn your “stuff” and that you deserve all of it, consider two things. First, God’s Word tells us that is a mistaken view:
18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Second, it is obvious that you can’t take it with you. Life is brief and eternity is long, so respect the fact that God is the owner of all (Psalm 24:1) and we are merely temporary stewards of what He allows us to have and use.
Real stewardship includes giving back through service, giving your time and your talents, generously. Stewardship is more than time, talents and treasures, it is all of your life and all that you are and will be.
But the “money” part of stewardship is important. God gave us more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions in His Word. He gave us that much instruction because we need it! We like our “stuff.” We want to hold onto it, accumulate it, grow it, hoard it and enjoy it. But instead, God wants is to be generous toward others and to Him. How do we know God wants us to give generously? Simply, He told us so! We are to “excel in this grace of giving” as God has instructed us.
2 Corinthians 8:7
7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
We are to be generous with our faith, speech, expertise, knowledge, love and money. One way of obeying, one way of excelling at generosity, is by giving to God through your estate plan.
The Benefits to You Include:
• Giving through your estate plan can be an act of stewardship that helps you know your church will continue to support and nurture your children and grandchildren into their future.
• This act makes you more than a contributor, it makes you a part of the mission of Christ through His bride, the church.
• Giving through a will or trust is also an act of obedience. God has called on us to be generous with what He has given to us, being generous is a calling we have been given.
• Giving is a final way you can witness to others of your faith.
Examples and Opportunities:
• The Idlewild Foundation is led by its Chairman, Pieter Dearolf, a retired CPA who serves as a volunteer, its Executive Director, John Campbell, a retired trial lawyer who serves as a volunteer, and by its Board of Trustees, all of whom serve as volunteers. This is only a part of their being an example of serving, speaking and sharing their knowledge as acts of generosity. 1 Timothy 4:12.
• The Idlewild Foundation shares ideals and examples of generosity through conversations and discipleship events called Journeys of Generosity or JOGs. A JOG is a unique event taking part of two days to share, learn, read, hear and meditate on the generosity God has displayed through what He has given us and on the generosity He desires for us. If you would like to learn more, please call.
• Each of our Trustees gives to the Foundation as an expression of their certainty in the good work The Idlewild Foundation does and as a statement of thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11,13.
Important Related Topics:
See What is Biblical Stewardship?, Tests of Godly Stewardship, Expanding Your Circle of Giving, and Creating a Legacy of Generosity.