Death is the great enemy of all mankind. Since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden, when "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin" (Romans 5:12), God's creation has groaned under the curse of decay and death. Yet those who have been redeemed and forgiven by the precious blood of Christ no longer need to fear its "sting" (1 Corinthians 15:55) or drown in its sorrow. For the true Christian, death is merely an entrance into the joyful presence of our great Savior and Redeemer.
This sweet comfort was impressed upon me with the recent home-going of a very dear and long-time friend. While the sorrow of the moment was heavy at times, with great joy we celebrated his life and salvation in Christ, and looked forward to when we would be reunited in heaven. What a blessing we have in Jesus, knowing that death is but a temporary separation for all those who know the Lord!
No doubt many of you have experienced the home-going of friends or loved ones, and afterwards found yourself reflecting on your own circumstances. For committed Christians this is often a reminder from the Lord to readjust their focus back onto things of eternal value. But without proper planning and preparation, the resources God has granted us in life may not be distributed appropriately after we have gone home to heaven.
The first line of defense in this dilemma is a well-thought-out will, but recent published reports indicate that over 50 percent of Americans who pass away each year do not have valid wills in place.1 The reasons for this are varied; some believe they do not own enough property to need one, others believe their spouse inherits everything automatically, while others believe that beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement plans are sufficient. But apparently, most simply procrastinate!
Without a valid will, state laws of "descent and distribution" essentially create a state-written will for those who did not make their own.2 The repercussions can be scary and impersonal, since state laws make no exceptions for your wishes, and oftentimes deplete estates unnecessarily with expenses that can be minimized or avoided through a well-planned will. State laws also allow the courts to decide who will administer your estate and who will be the guardian of your surviving minor children. And they will not make bequests of any kind--to friends, to church, or to charities that are dear to your heart.
Scripture teaches a simple but effective model to distribute remaining earthly assets for the good of the Kingdom. In short, we are commanded to:
- Take care of our families (1 Timothy 5:8)
- Provide for our churches (1 Corinthians 16:2)
- Support Christian ministries (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
- Share in general charity (2 Corinthians 9:8-9)
But without a will, your remaining assets may not be disbursed in a truly biblical manner. In obedience to the Lord, please do not allow this to happen.
ICR stands ready to help you in this regard. We would be happy to provide samples of well-written wills, or brochures containing useful information on proper will preparation. The vast majority can be prepared relatively inexpensively, and generally should be handled by a knowledgeable attorney in your local area. If you wish to support ICR in some way, there is nothing easier than including a simple bequest to ensure a portion of your remaining resources are shared with our ministry. We promise to apply it prayerfully and carefully for the eternal work of the Kingdom.
Be prepared for your home-going. ICR can help. Please contact us today at 800.337.0375 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How to Make a Will That Works, published by The Sharpe Group. A copy of this pamphlet is available from ICR.
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris IV, H. 2009. Home-Going Preparations. Acts & Facts. 38 (5): 21.