PERSPECTIVE: Be prepared
Most of us live as if we will never die. The younger we are, the more invincible we feel. But living has a way of reminding us that life really is like a vapor. Even if we live to a ripe old age, it is only a dot on the continuum of eternity.
In recent days, two good friends have died. One was my age, and another much younger. Preparing ourselves and our family for the reality of the end of life issues is of utmost importance. We want to leave our house in order and be prepared for eternity. Just this last Sunday, I saw a sweet friend whose husband had died suddenly and left her with three daughters at home. She told me to encourage people to get things ready.
Without question, our greatest need is to prepare our soul. It does not matter what liberal theologians say. There is a hell to shun and Heaven to gain. Jesus came to reconcile us to God through His death on the cross. No sin is so dark or man so depraved that cannot be reached by the grace of God. He offers His righteousness for our brokenness and shame. When we come to Him by faith, He exchanges our imperfection for His perfection. When we repent, He transforms us by His grace and power. Death dies before the resurrected Savior.
Our spiritual preparation for death is simple—turn to Jesus. He is the way the truth and the life. He is our resurrection and life. All who believe in Him have the promise of an eternity with Him. Death is a door—not the end. Are you prepared to face death and what is on the other side?
I would encourage you to go a step further. Make preparation to set your house in order so that when you die your family will be secure. This is important not just for those of us who are more mature. Many think a written and legal plan for when they die is not necessary because they are young and have few assets. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that care for their minor children is the most important decision to be made if something happened to them. Do you really want the secular courts to make the decision regarding who will rear your children after you are gone? They will if you do not establish a written, legal plan for them.
Most of us can prepare ourselves in only a few simple steps. The tragedy is that many do not realize how simple the process can be. It is not costly and does not take a great deal of time. Your Baptist Foundation can help you make your plan and if you leave a 10 percent charitable gift in your plan, at least half of which must be to a Baptist ministry, The Baptist Foundation will reimburse a portion of the legal fees. They will walk you through the process.
Polla and I prepared our first estate plan through The Baptist Foundation many years ago. We have revised our plan through the years to recognize the changes in the age of our children and our assets. The Baptist Foundation has helped us each time. Their staff is knowledgeable and helped guide us through our choices. I could not be more positive about the experience.
You are not going to live forever on this Earth. Death may come to you before this day ends, or you may live for another 50 years, but you will die save the return of Jesus. Will you be prepared spiritually? Will you have your house in order for the good of your loved ones?
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.