The Importance of Estate Planning
Let me start by asking you a really personal question.
Do you have a will?
If you have children, there is a good chance you have at least done some basic estate planning. This usually involves answering the following questions:
- Who will gain custody of your children in the event that something happens to both you and your spouse?
- How will your children be provided for once you are gone?
- Who will make important decisions regarding your estate?
- What will happen to any possessions you own?
Though none of us really likes to plan for our death, the truth is that it will happen to all of us one day. Therefore, it is to our advantage to plan well.
Spiritual Estate Planning
The more I ponder the idea of estate planning, the more I find it ironic that we are willing to spend so much time and money creating a comprehensive plan for what happens to our earthly possessions, yet we leave what will happen eternally largely to chance. Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
We seem to forget that many decisions we make here on earth have eternal consequences, both for us and, in some cases, for future generations. That being said, it seems like we should pay just as much attention to planning our spiritual legacy as we do our worldly one.
I do want to acknowledge the fact that we can’t “leave” things like salvation or spiritual characteristics to our children. However, we can do our best to cultivate them in our lives and the lives of our children. That’s where last week’s question comes into play.
Last week I asked everyone to answer the following question:
I was amazed to see the overwhelming response to this question, and though this list is a stop along the way, as opposed to a final destination, I want to share the incredible responses I received. My prayer is that this list will encourage us all to start thinking intentionally about our spiritual legacies.
I want to thank all of my friends from Facebook, Instagram, Unstoppable Writers, The Intentional Motherhood Community, and The Christian Parenting Lounge for helping me develop such a comprehensive list. For the sake of trying to keep things concise, I have combined similar responses into a single category. The answers I received were:
- Loving others as Christ loved us… even those we don’t like or who hurt us
- A hunger and thirst for righteousness
- Loving and seeking Jesus before anything else
- Seeking truth only found in Jesus
- Identity in Christ alone
- Knowing God’s unconditional love
- Trusting God’s Word
- Depending on God’s Word
- Obeying God’s Word
- Truth in Love
- Unshakeable faith
- Love for God’s Word
- Love for Jesus
- Loving your neighbor as yourself
- Prioritizing relationships over things
- Being “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”
- A walk that shows Who Christ is
- Love of learning
- Surrendered heart
- Healthy conflict resolution
- Wholehearted devotion to God
- To fully know Jesus and His love
- Full reliance on God
- The ability to be still and listen
- To be grounded in the truth of God’s Word
- Consistent prayer and Bible study
- Relying on God to define truth, no matter what any other voice may say
- To constantly seek God and and rely on Him and not their own understanding
- Going to God first in times of trouble and trusting His plan
- To “seek first His kingdom” so they can love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and spirit
- The ability to see life here on earth as fleeting and momentary and to see eternity as “real” life
This Week’s Challenge:
As you read through the list of characteristics people shared, I hope at least a few of them really caught your attention. Since we are all at different places in our walks, I want to offer several options for this week’s challenge.
First, if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, your challenge is to seek out someone or to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to learn more about Him and His amazing love for you . Though we can exhibit and teach some of the traits listed above without knowing Jesus personally, we can never fully develop them in our own power. John 15:5 reminds us that Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. Apart from Him we can do nothing.
Second, if the idea of a spiritual legacy is very new to you, pray over the list and ask God to show you which characteristics He wants you to focus on and how you can cultivate them in your life and in the lives of your family. This is simply a beginning point, as we will delve into this topic more specifically next week. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with trying to do too much all at once. Simply pick one or two and keep your focus there.
Finally, if you feel like you are already on the path to developing a rich spiritual legacy, pray over the list and ask God to reveal any characteristics He might want you to add. Additionally, please share ways you work to cultivate specific spiritual characteristics in your life and the lives of your family members. Feel free to comment on this post or look for my Facebook post on Tuesday. Your feedback will be invaluable to others.
Father God, we come to You asking for new eyes as we examine our lives and our families through eternal lenses. Please help the worldly chaff to blow away as we look to harvest things that will last for generations to come and for all of eternity. No matter where we are in this process, please help us to keep moving forward as we strive to be the people and the families You desire. We love you and thank you for the promise of eternal life through Your Son. Amen
Thank you so much for participating in this week’s discussion. It makes for a much richer experience. My prayer is that you will continue to provide feedback this week as we look at practical ways to put our thoughts and words into action. I promise that others can benefit greatly from the wisdom you share. I hope you all know how much you bless me. Have a wonderful week! –Dawn
For additional thoughts on the topic of leaving a spiritual legacy, I highly recommend reading the following posts:
What Spiritual Legacy Are You Leaving Your Children? (Written by Patty Scott of Hearts Homeward)