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Grace Notes

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ESTATE PLANNING
by Philip Owen

            “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”  declared the banner that festooned our kitchen in bright red, yellow, purple, orange, and green letters on a shimmering silver background on the anniversary of our son’s birth several years ago.  My first thought that morning when the alarm clock interrupted my sleep was that we had just finished celebrating our daughter’s birthday.  My second thought was a reminder of the verse that says:  “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psa. 127:3).

            Kings and billionaires are poverty-stricken beggars by comparison with a pauper whose cottage swells with children.  “Children are a gift of the Lord,” declares the psalmist, a heavenly gift of inestimable worth.  In other words, children are not merely the end product of a biological process.  The are not the most recent link in the evolutionary chain.  They are not merely the accident of passion.  Rather, they are the unique and precious gifts inherited from the Lord, as a priceless “reward” (“benefit,” or “compensation”).  We ought to consider soberly and prayerfully the manner in which we invest this inheritance, for to do so properly will provide vast and eternal wealth; however, to mishandle our inheritance will result in spiritual poverty and grief.

            How Satan has confused this issue in these last days.  On the one hand, he would push us into sins of omission:  failure to train and discipline our children or to provide them with the proper spiritual guidelines that will ensure sound growth.  It is as a result of this error that we see undisciplined children terrorizing the home, dictating to their parents, demanding and receiving their own wills.  This error often accompanies a belief that corporal punishment is wrong.  As ones who have received an inheritance, as holders of a trust, however, it is the parents’ responsibility to train, chasten, and generally guide, as well as to encourage, their children.  Consider the fact that we put our available funds in the best obtainable investment, having carefully studied the prospectus.  Often even the smallest change in the investment picture attracts our careful consideration, yet we allow our most precious possessions to fend for themselves, to determine with their own immature minds and wills what is best.  How foolish!  How sinful!  The Lord has bequeathed to us a precious inheritance; we would be wise to carefully and prayerfully invest it.

            On the other hand, Satan has persuaded many to practice sins of commission.  We must guard against the rapacious designs of unscrupulous investment brokers.  For there are those who would take our children’s bodies for the gain that comes from child pornography and prostitution, and those who would murder them.  More subtle, but even worse, are those who would prostitute the hearts and minds of our children, filling them with the anti-Christian, humanistic beliefs and values of our godless society.  With religious zeal, they insist upon irreligion.  We have allowed a fox in among the chickens.  Far better a child die young at the hands of a murderer than that he be allowed to inhale the toxic fumes of secular humanism and slowly die the excruciating death of the godless, having wasted an empty life in sin.

            How are you managing your estate?  Do you have a sound investment strategy, a wise investment counsellor to plot financial trends and to help you make wise decisions?  Let us be encouraged to seek the Lord on these matters.  If judgment fell upon the steward who failed to invest properly the talent entrusted to him, how much more will we be held accountable for the precious heritage entrusted to us?  Are you carefully guarding and prayerfully guiding your children?  Or are you allowing Satan, the world, and their immature wills to dictate to you the course of their lives?  Better far that “a heavy millstone” were hung around your neck and that you were “drowned in the depth of the sea”—thus declared the Lord (Matt. 18:6).  And that is His opinion of the inestimable worth of your child.

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