Leaving a legacy

“Business Is My Calling” is a 4-week study currently offered by the New Life Church in Woodbury to enhance leadership skills in the business world.

Today’s session, the third in the series led by Dave Seehusen and Dan Wiersum, was about how to balance living generously and leaving a financial and spiritual legacy.

For info about the study and the topics covered, visit New Life Church website.

I would like to share some of the things I learned at today’s presentation.

First, thank-you to Dave and Dan for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, and to the authors whose books are the foundation of the study, especially Ron Blue, author of twenty books on personal finance.

Why live generously?

God owns it all – Genesis 1:1

Matthew 6:19:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”

Luke 16:11:  “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”

Why does God want us to give generously?

  1. To help the poor
  2. To the temple (building, repairing, maintaining)
  3. For the priests, ministers, His workers

Why do we give?

  1. To receive a tax deduction
  2. To feel good
  3. To move toward “Jesus’ level of generosity”

Leaving a Financial Legacy

(Adapted from Ron Blue’s book Splitting Heirs : Giving Your Money and Things to Your Children Without Ruining Their Lives)

Five Undeniable Truths:

  1. We will all die.
  2. We will take nothing with us.
  3. We will probably die at a time other than when we would like.
  4. Someone else will get our stuff.
  5. We can decide only before we die who gets our stuff after we die.

Wealth Transfer Decision-Making Process

Life Overview – The Why

  • Take stock of your life
  • Understand why God put you on earth
  • Understand your unique design
  • As a steward of all He has given you, how would He want you to use it?

Decision 1 – Transfer – To Whom

  • The Treasure Principle: You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.
  • The Unity Principle: Your spouse completes you, not competes with you.
  • The Wisdom Principle: Transfer wisdom before wealth.

Decision 2 – Treatment – How Much

  • The Uniqueness Principle: Love your children equally, and treat them uniquely.

Decision 3 – Timing – When

  • The Kingdom Principle: Time your wealth transfer to maximize its use by you, your heirs and kingdom servants.
  • The Givin’ While Livin’ Principle: Do your givin’ while you’re livin’ so you’re knowin’ where it’s goin’.

Decision 4 – Title – What

  • The Stewardship Principle: God owns it all

Decision 5 – Tools & Techniques –  How

  • The Tools Principle: Estate planning tools & techniques help you accomplish objectives, but are not the objective.
  • The Trust Principle: Never use a trust because of a lack of trust.
  • The K.I.S.S. Principle: Keep it as simple as possible.

Decision 6 – Talk – Communicating the why, who, how much, when, what and how

  • The Expectation Principle: Communicate to align expectations with plans.

Leaving a Spiritual Legacy

As Christians, we should share not just our wealth, but also our faith with our children, grandchildren, and others, in order to leave a lasting legacy.

The following letter that Dan wrote to his granddaughter is an example of passing on your faith and leaving a spiritual legacy to the next generations.

Letter and Hope Chest to My Grandchildren

by Dan Wiersum

April 13, 2011 

My Dear Luka, 

You are one year old today. I distinctly remember the call I received from your Dad a year ago telling us of your arrival. You were born a half a world away in Hawaii, so it was several weeks before your Grandma and I would see you. We couldn’t wait. What fun it was getting to know you, learning how to bounce you, watching you endure a bubble bath and taking you for walks on the island paradise where you lived.

Now, I am pleased to give you a hope chest I made just for you—a practice I do for each of our grandchildren on the occasion of their first birthday—to keep as a constant reminder of your Grandpa’s love and hopes for God’s best in your life. 

Although your Grandma and I do not have great material wealth to give to you, we have something of great value to share with you—a spiritual legacy we’ve learned from our parents and received from God that lasts for eternity.

I want you to know that your Grandma and I have trusted in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and we desire the same for you. We pray this prayer daily for you: 

We pray for Luka today, O God, that you would fill her with the knowledge of your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that she might live a life worthy of the Lord, and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to your glorious might, so that she might have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified her to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 2:9-14, paraphrased)

Luka, your hope chest will likely be filled with baby toys for awhile, then little girl dolls and soccer balls, and clothes, and items for when you marry, and sweaters, and blankets. Just know that whatever items you fill your hope chest with, that my heart always will be filled with love for you, hoping—and praying—for God’s best.

Love,

Your Grandpa Wiersum

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