Have you thought about how you will feel about God’s mission on earth after you have died? Do you think that God’s will that all people be saved will no longer matter to you? Do you think that the joy of being in Heaven and being completely united with Jesus will mean you have lost all interest in this world? I am going to speculate for a moment and suggest that, once we are in Heaven and in complete union with the Trinity, we will be intensely interested in what God is interested in and will desire much more completely than we did during our lifetimes to see his will be done. Revelation 7:9-12 gives us a picture of the saints who died during the tribulation uniting together in a great chorus shouting, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!” Yes, I believe we will be finally and completely in tune with our Father’s heart and truly care that those who are still lost come to faith.
As you may know, in my position as Associate for Biblical Stewardship, I teach about stewardship in our churches, write about stewardship in our Faith & Fellowship magazine and provide estate planning seminars and services, without charge, for members and friends of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren who wish to plan for their estate. You may be asking yourself, how does the first section of this report have anything to do with stewardship and estate planning? After all, after we die, our time to do anything on earth has ended. Or has it?
What if you could still be part of the Great Commission to “make disciples” after you have moved from this world? What if there were a way to honor the desire of your heavenly Father that all be saved while you are in his presence in Heaven? Now, I am referring to that period after we die and before the great white throne judgment. There is evidence in Revelation that we will have some understanding of what is happening on earth during that period in Heaven.
Many of you have lived your lives seeking to do the will of God. You have love and concern for the lost and have shared the good news of salvation with your neighbors. You have taught in Sunday School. You have sung in the choir or praise band. You have been a pastor or missionary or in other fulltime ministry. (Although we are all in fulltime ministry even if we don’t always think of it that way.) And just as importantly, you have given your resources so that pastors and missionaries can be trained and sent to preach, so that new churches can be planted, so that pastors can be cared for, and so that people here in North America and around the globe will hear about the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
If you have been faithful in being generous in giving to God’s mission during your life, why not continue that generosity when you die? With proper estate planning, you can make sure that a portion of your resources will continue to supply the needs of our joint ministries after you have left here and gone into the presence of the Lord. We all want to make sure our children are properly cared for after we die. Why wouldn’t we want the work of our Father and our family, the Church, to be properly cared for also? You have the opportunity to do this through proper estate planning.
To date, well over a hundred of your fellow members and friends of our congregations have taken the time to start the process to put an estate plan in place. Many have finished the process and are happy that they have done so. If you would like to have us prepare a full estate plan for you, without charge to you, please have your congregation invite me to conduct an estate planning seminar at your church or cluster of churches.
May God bless you as you generously give during your lifetime and as you leave a legacy of generosity and a testimony of faithfulness even after you have gone to be with him.
Roy Heggland is Associate for Biblical Stewardship for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.
Contact Roy Heggland at: [email protected].