It’s Been Around a Long Time

When Jesus was alive:

  • Electricity had not been harnessed for power, light, or heat.
  • No reliable method of manned flight was known (over the earth or into space).
  • Penicillin and other miracle drugs did not exist in their life-saving forms.
  • Combustion engines had not been invented. Horsepower was just that.
  • Wireless communication (apart from prayer) was literally unheard of – no radio, television, or mobile phones.

Yet the essential elements were present and awaiting the time of invention and application. The list of discoveries yet to made remains endless.

But from the time of Jesus, and even before, some things were present and remain relevant today. For example, estate planning or leaving an inheritance.

In the Old Testament:

  • Naboth refused to trade or sell “the inheritance of my fathers” to King Ahab (1 Kings 21).
  • There was a complicated system of buying and selling inheritance land that included redemption and spousal rights (Ruth 4).
  • Ancient Israel had specific rules about estate (inheritance) transfers to sons and daughters (Numbers 27).

Common wisdom of Proverbs 13:22 is that good people leave “an inheritance” to their children and even grandchildren (what is inheritance is a legitimate question).

And in the New Testament:

  • Paul used estate planning terms (Galatians 3:15ff; 4:1ff) in explaining our spiritual inheritance. Most scriptural reference to inheritance is to spiritual and not material assets. Planning for estates was a New Testament practice.
  • In Hebrews 9, to bolster the conversation about the New Covenant, the writer references what must have been commonly known – “for a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.” (Hebrews 9:16-17).

For thousands of years, the concept of passing assets from one steward, manager, or trustee to another has been understood by those who have more than just their daily bread. The principle that life on earth is temporary clearly translates to asset management and transfer.

As we grow older (and accumulate assets), we are challenged to understand the nature of stewardship as limited. Thus, the selection of the next steward is a reasonable act of planning.

Who should be given the management and stewardship when we are no longer willing or able to accomplish the tasks? This is a question for the ages, for all who are striving to grow in the giving life.

May We Help You?

Is it time to review the inheritance you wish to provide, and the transfer of the stewardship responsibility which you have been given? We have resources available to help you in your planning and review. We have prepared A Guide to Revocable Living Trusts and Your Guide to Estate Planning which you can download without cost or obligation.

© 2022 CDF Capital Foundation from the Lifestyle Giving Legacy files
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