My wife, Barbara, and I grew up in families that taught us from an early age to be faithful stewards. I was a Disciples minister’s kid whose parents were wonderful role models, and I eagerly practiced a “double tithe” as a child. Barbara also saw her parents love and serve their church with all the gifts in their possession. Her mom was her Disciples congregation’s first woman elder and board chair, and her dad did anything that needed doing.
It is certainly not surprising that when we began our life as a young married couple we easily decided that tithing to support the ministries of our church would be our lifelong -- and joyful -- practice.
Recently we wrestled with what we want to say about what is most important to us even in death. We worked with the Christian Church Foundation to create a plan that will witness to our love for our children and grandchildren, but also support the Disciples ministries about which we feel so passionate.
At the end of our lives our congregation will receive an annual gift for 20 years replacing our pledge. In addition, the Disciples Divinity House at the University of Chicago, DMF, Week of Compassion and Higher Education and Leadership Ministries will all receive support from an initial “double tithe” of our estate. Our heirs will divide 50% and the remaining 30% will fund a charitable remainder trust to provide annual income to our family for 20 years. Whatever remains will go to the Disciples ministries we believe are making such a difference for good in our world.
Recently we shared our plan with our two grown children. Our son, Eric, immediately said, “Mom and Dad, I would be fine with your giving ALL of your money to the church,” adding, “of course I don’t know how Kristen feels.” Without missing a beat our daughter said, “Absolutely, I would be perfectly fine with your leaving all of Eric’s inheritance to the church!”
We all had a good laugh but it was clear that in truth our parents’ spirit of faithful stewardship has passed to yet another generation. God is good… ALL the time!