The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      I have enjoyed watching the Olympic Games in Tokyo over the past couple of weeks. I must admit, however, that my interest in the various races (swimming, running, rowing, etc.) probably surpassed my interest in fencing and rhythmic dance. Regardless of the particular sport/event, several observations and take-aways surfaced throughout the Games. Whether competing in an aquatic center, a court or course, a track, open water, in the sand or other venue, these high-caliber athletes were (1) Dedicated to their particular sport and the specific task at hand, (2) Disciplined in their preparation over a multi-year period, and (3) Determined to do their best for the duration and to finish strong.     
      Not unlike modern-day Olympians, competitors in the first century engaged in strict training in order to achieve a prize (1 Cor. 9:25). Despite the recognition that comes with receiving a crown or medal, this prize does not last (v. 25). Therefore, the apostle Paul encouraged the church at Corinth to “Run in such a way as to get the prize” (v. 24) that “will last forever” (v. 25).
      Financial fitness, as expressed through the current and continual stewardship of all of the resources that God has entrusted to you, does not end at death. Why? Because the decision that you make regarding the distribution of your assets and material possessions IS part of your God-given stewardship responsibility. When the time comes for you to “pass the baton” for someone else to run the next leg of the race, decisions concerning the Who, What, and How of your legacy planning are of utmost importance.     
      Against this backdrop, I will submit to you that Christian estate/legacy planning should not begin in a lawyer’s office. Rather, estate stewardship for Christians should begin on one’s knees in prayer. Bathing the planning process in prayer places the implementation of available rules and tools prescribed by Congress and published by the I.R.S. in proper perspective as one’s Last Will and Testament and other planning documents are developed from a biblical worldview.
      Unfortunately, many people have not made any preparation for the future in the form of a Last Will and Testament. In fact, some estimates suggest that between 50% and 70% of folks either do not have a Will or do not have an updated Will. Of further interest is the estimate that of those relative few individuals who have a Last Will and Testament, less than three-percent (only 1 in 40) have included charity of any kind (including the church and other ministries) in their planning documents.     
      The three institutions presented in Scripture (family, church, government) are the primary outlets for distributions from your estate. When recognizing that most people are willing to limit bequests to Uncle Sam, then the decision comes down to the allocation between family/loved ones and ministries that you wish to favor. In other words, developing a Christian estate plan that pursues a “Family and Faith” or “Kids and the Kingdom” kind of approach while putting God’s will in your Will.

      As you strive toward Financial Fitness”…

  • Remember, your stewardship responsibility does not end at death inasmuch as you are responsible for deciding who will receive the baton from you to run the next leg of your stewardship journey when the Lord calls you into higher service with Him.
  • Recognize that storing up treasures in heaven involves more than simply giving to your kids especially if doing so is not in their best interest nor appropriate for them. Prayerful planning and decision-making are critical when a child whose course of life is inconsistent with a biblical worldview is involved. 
  • Reflect on the reality that distribution of your estate assets will, in most cases, be the most significant act of Christian financial stewardship that you will undertake in the course of your lifetime.
  • Resolve to run all the way through the tape and finish the race well as you carefully and prayerfully prepare a Last Will and Testament and other end-of-life documents that includes God’s will in your Will.
      Concerning the appropriate use of wealth, Jesus declared “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be required” (Luke 12:48). Additionally, we are to “store up treasure for ourselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that we may take hold of life that is truly life” (1 Tim. 6:19).     
      Financial fitness is a “cradle to the grave (and beyond)” kind of undertaking that is Founded on the Heavenly, Framed in Humility, Focused on Humanity, Forged with Hospitality, Formulated with Honesty, and Finished without Hesitancy. May you run with endurance the race set out before you while fixing your eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.


Dear Heavenly Father, May the stewardship of my life – inclusive of the stewardship of the resources of time, talent, and treasure – reflect fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith as I look forward to the crown of righteousness to be awarded to me on that day.