Early County News

It’s time to change your will

The Way I See It



It was my first day of class for the semester in Bible college. The subject was personal finance.

We had been seated about three minutes, when Dr. Jerry Windsor said, “Take out a piece of paper and number it 1-11. We are having a quiz and it will count for half your grade.”

What in the world?! He had not even handed out the dang syllabus!

“Number one,” our professor said. “What is enough?… What is amount of money that, if you had it saved or invested, you would go to your church (or other employer) and tell them you wanted to keep serving, but no longer need a salary?”

We looked like calves staring at new gate.

“Now, 2-11. What are the 10 things you would do with any money you got above the amount you listed in number one?”

I thought he was crazy, but it turned out to be a fantastic exercise. As we thought, he gave us practical advice. He helped us think about things we never considered. The “quiz” made us young folks consider the importance of being responsible stewards of money. It made us consider goals and make plans we have always remembered.

Several years ago, a lady who grew up in Blakely passed through town with her husband. After decades of successful careers, the two had retired and decided to make a sizable gift to First Baptist Church, likely the largest our church has ever received. She said she intends for the money to be used to build a building to honor the memory of her late mother.

We were blown away and extremely grateful to know that, at her death, the church will receive this generous donation.

As the lady continues to enjoy her retirement, we have had conversations about exactly how her gift will one day be used. In those deliberations, we have come to a realization. As the years go by, it will get more and more difficult for churches (and non profits) to afford to maintain historic buildings.

With that in mind, it is time for us, particularly people of faith, to change our wills. We need to consider making provisions for a portion of our estates (ten percent is a nice round number) to go our churches. To be fair, I have not yet done this, but it is in the works. I always wanted to be helpful to my church. I just never considered putting it in writing in this way.

If yours doesn’t have one, all churches should consider having an endowment. This money isn’t spent. The fund is allowed to grow through our contributions so it can earn interest. The annual payments probably don’t need to be used to fund the regular work of ministry. That is for church members to support. Rather, the proceeds can be used for unexpected expenses to keep up the beautiful architectural works of art in which so many of us enjoy worship, to keep up cemeteries or for other long-term needs.

So, let’s consider changing our wills and leave ten percent (or more!) for the support of the church that supported us.

While you’re at it, I highly suggest taking Dr. Windsor’s quiz. You might be surprised how much it helps just to sit and think through financial matters. You never know when you might be in a position to be more generous than you ever imagined.

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