Four years ago, I was visiting AWR donors in the state of Louisiana. I had one more visit to attempt … way out in the middle of nowhere.
The rental car company had “made a mistake” by assigning me a Jeep rather than the small economy car I had reserved. What a blessing that was as I negotiated eight miles of muddy springtime roads.
But Stan and BJ Steadman weren’t home, so I left a thank-you note and some AWR materials.
On my way back to “civilization,” I encountered a large tree fallen across the road; also, neither my GPS nor I knew where I was. Luckily, a guardian angel – in the disguise of a kindly farmer in his pickup truck – stopped behind me. “Not to worry,” he encouraged, “just follow me!”
On my next attempt, it was mid-summer. I discovered a shorter route and encountered dust instead of mud. Knocking on the Stedman’s door, I heard no response. I checked the woodshed and yard, and finally found Stan and BJ inside a storage shed, working on their crafts. He is a woodcarver, while she enjoys sewing and flower crafts.
Stan was employed in law enforcement for 47 years and became an Adventist about 25 years ago. Their church in Marthaville has only about six members, but BJ shares every AWR story she can find with them.
Near the close of our two-and-a-half-hour conversation, Stan and BJ asked me a serious question: should they give their home and 12 acres to AWR now?
I explained they need to live there currently. I suggested they ask God for wisdom, and He would let them know about timing. Meanwhile, they plan to increase their giving to AWR’s worldwide evangelistic outreach. In addition, they have remembered AWR exclusively in their estate plans.
As Christians, we recognize that we are merely temporary custodians of God’s property. He is the Creator of the universe, including this earth. In addition, He sustains us daily with the gift of life and wellbeing. The Bible says that “the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10) belong to Him and “the silver is mine, and the gold is mine” (Haggai 2:8). The Bible is quite clear: God owns it all.
Our home, our children, our automobiles, our bank accounts, our retirement plans, indeed everything we “possess” is temporary, and on loan from God.
Soon we must give an account of what He has advanced us. At death, through a last will and testament, we are provided with an excellent opportunity to give back the remainder to the Owner.
As we come so near to the end of time, we strategically will be planning not how little, but how much we will return to God. What joy we will experience in heaven to discover how our bequest helped finish God’s work on earth. And how delighted we will be to meet those who are in heaven as a result of our investments!
by Jeff Wilson
Assistant to the President for Planned Giving