What does it mean to be a generous person? During this season of giving we’ve explored how we’ve been called to be generous in our lives of faith: our gestures of generosity.
But, what about when our life has ended? Does our generosity end as well? This can actually be a time when we make one of our strongest statements about our faith!
Do you have a will? In addition to your family members, have you named organizations that will continue doing the work you value? Have you included the church in that list?
Gifts like these provide a tremendous opportunity for you to make a powerful statement about your faith. As a loyal giver throughout your lifetime, making a planned gift allows you to continue showing your faith even after you’re gone.
Planned gifts often enable you to make a larger donation. Most annual gifts come from income. Planned gifts come from your accumulated assets when they are no longer needed, allowing you to make a final larger gift.
Planned gifts allow you to maintain the work of the church. A gift from your estate will keep giving over a longer period of time. What could bring greater satisfaction now than knowing your resources are continuing to benefit others after you’re no longer here?
And, planned gifts allow you to establish a permanent living memorial for you or loved ones. Few remembrances are as lasting or meaningful as a living memorial that continues to minister to others in Christ’s name for generations to come.
Our church has been blessed with some very faithful givers – providing a final tribute to enable us to continue our mission.
One of those we celebrate every year on the first Sunday in March. The Augusta Jeffrey Award was a planned gift established to honor Augusta Jeffrey, a fervent volunteer and church member, while also recognizing the volunteer efforts of other church members. The money from the gift goes to support a ministry of the church of that year’s award recipient’s choosing. Over the years, many of our church members have been honored by this thoughtful and planned gift.
Other members have also thought of the church with one last gesture of generosity. Some have given from their estate, Russ and Margaret Leicht gifted us their cottage on the bay that we could later sell, and Lucia Stanfield wanted us to “dream big” with her dream fund to enable us do something that we might not otherwise be able to do without her gift.
Recently, Gene Reynolds promised to remember our church in his estate. Many years ago he purchased life insurance to provide for his wife Joan and their children. Because that financial assistance is no longer necessary, Gene has decided to honor Joan’s life and service to the church by making us the beneficiary of that policy. Gene’s thoughtful gift in memory of Joan will be used to help people in need, either through our pantry, Tank School, or by enhancing our church’s audio system to improve the worship experience for all, and especially those with hearing-related needs.
What does it mean to be a generous person? Studies often talk about characteristics like altruism, enthusiasm, energy, gratefulness, humbleness, optimism and patience.
While all these traits are probably accurate, John the Evangelist, boils it down to a single word: Love.
16 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters. 17 How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18 Little children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.1 John 3:16-18
Let these words be your guide as you show your gestures of generosity both in the coming year and for the many years to come.