Body, Mind & Spirit

Recently my wife and I began reworking our Last Will & Testament. Now that our children are older and don’t need our money, we plan to leave them our Tupperware set when we die. That’s a good thing, since my wife and I don’t have much money anyway, and most of our net worth is wrapped up in magazine subscriptions and used cars.

Still, we’ve been praying about what our deaths could mean to God’s work – and we’ve come to the conclusion that we are indeed worth more dead than alive. And so we’ve made provision to give to the church in our estate planning. In fact, if our stewardship drive at Calvary doesn’t go well this year, the Lord might take us sooner than we anticipate.

Working on our Last Will & Testament, I’ve been forced to think about eschatological (end-time) things – at least as far as the end of my life is concerned, and how I want the final sentence of my life to read.

As a pastor, I must admit that I am disappointed by how few people consider giving to God’s work –and often to the church to which they have belonged for decades – through their estate planning. Most people simply don’t consider their Will Power when it comes to giving to God’s work – and most congregations receive few bequests from their faithful church members.

The truth is, if each United Methodist in Indiana gave even a small percentage of his or her estate to the church at the time of death, we would lack for nothing as a people. No part of God’s work would go unfulfilled. Needs in every community would be met. Mission would be robust.

Most people do not consider their value when it comes to their estates, such as life insurance, pensions, portfolios, collections and real estate, to mention a few. These assets may seem meager to many, but people are often astounded by what they can give to Christ’s work once they seek the advice of a financial counselor.

My portfolio is not plush, but I have some unique assets that the church could use. For example, I’ve got books, dog-eared magazines and several nice suits with matching ties. I’ve got frozen fruit pops that the youth group could enjoy and a remarkable stash of frozen donuts that could under gird our Sunday morning fellowship for decades. Believe me, if I died, my wife would clear out my side of the closet with haste, to make room for her new wardrobe – and my J.C. Penney signature suit collection could be distributed at an annual conference session among my clergy friends. Anyone want a gray herringbone?

But in fact, I am valuable, and you are, too! You may have assets you have not considered – gifts that you could give to God’s work that would in no way harm your family or limit their security in the event of your death. You have Will Power, as do I. There’s so much we can give.

What an opportunity we have as a people to impact the reign of God through our Will Power!

Todd Outcalt serves as senior pastor of Calvary UMC in Brownsburg.