The final distribution happens to everyone – no exceptions. There comes that time when everything we earned, inherited, accumulated or owned at death is distributed to loved ones, to our church, to ministries/organizations we value, to creditors, or to a dumpster.
For the person who wants to be known for faithfulness and gratitude, the way we manage our stuff is important. Our Lord is very interested in us being faithful with the things of this world. He told the wise servant, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).
Such thinking is not well received by a culture intoxicated with consumerism. As Americans, we consume more than all the rest of the world combined many times over. We accumulate stuff and money and think somehow through the acquisition process we will become significant and/or secure. That is one of the major myths of our society propagated by economic, political and educational myth-makers.
To walk in the truth of God’s Word, we understand that our possessions and our work are gifts from the Lord. We do what we do as unto the Lord. What we call ours is in our hands and not our hearts. This is transformational thinking (Rom. 12:2).
When the relatives and attorneys complete the final distribution of your stuff, what will it look like? Will it honor Christ and His church? Will it reflect what mattered most to you in your lifetime?
Just the other day, Chris Calmer, president of the Missouri Baptist Foundation (which has offices in the Baptist Building), called to meet with me about the final distribution of an estate. When our schedules finally meshed, he told me the following story:
“Dr. Thomas W. Nelson, Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Foundation from 1962-1978, would have had no way of knowing that his work in helping a donor set up a charitable remainder unitrust in 1976 would have had such a significant benefit to the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program 38 years later.
“The original contribution into the charitable trust was $55,000. Although the individual’s name must remain confidential, the story is one worth telling. There were a number of benefits in using the charitable trust for all the parties involved. Not only did the Cooperative Program become a future beneficiary, but there were guaranteed payments in the amount of 7 percent per year for the parent, and later the daughter after the parent’s death.
“The other unique benefit of establishing this trust was that both the parent and the child had special health care needs. Creating this trust allowed for the management of the investments and the distribution of income, to be managed and cared for by the Missouri Baptist Foundation for nearly four decades.”
After telling me this wonderful story of a faithful Missouri Baptist who cared for his family members and missions through the Cooperative Program, Calmer presented to the MBC a check for $77,373, which represented the final proceeds from the charitable trust.
“It is a rewarding experience to be a part of helping families and furthering ministries,” Calmer said. “The generosity of individuals, like the ones who set up this trust, always amazes and encourages me. In the end, a mother and daughter received significant annual distributions for 38 years and the Cooperative Program received a substantial contribution to advance the ministries within our state and around the world.”
Calmer went on to say, “It’s hard to know, but I think Dr. Nelson, and the original donor, would have been pleased to see how well this charitable remainder trust turned out. The two individuals and the Cooperative Program gained considerably through this legacy gift!”
In a world that seems to be so consumer driven and that doesn’t appear to be making any plans for future generations, it is refreshing and praiseworthy to hear of someone who looked beyond the grave to make a distribution to generations through his legacy.
There are many ways a person can leave a legacy for future generations. It will never happen unless you have a plan and work the plan. With your plan, look beyond the immediate and think about future generations and the gospel outreach. Ministries such as a Baptist Foundation have value in helping us chart a plan that maximizes our final distribution through a trust like the one above or a charitable gift annuity, or another type of deferred gifting arrangement. Any of these plans keeps the government out of the mix as much as possible and maximizes your legacy.
While we are wrapping up the final legal issues with the Missouri Baptist Foundation, we would love to help you with your distribution plan. You can call us at the Baptist Building, 573.636.0400. Ask for my office and we will route you to those with the expertise to assist you in this process.
Every Baptist needs a distribution plan for the glory of the Lord.