The Long Play on Stewardship
“You’re going to die.” I heard this simple but powerful truth mentioned in “The Intentional Family” podcast by Jon Tyson and Jeff Bethke. They shared five key ideas they wanted to instill in their children as they developed into young adults. While the spiritual ramifications of this truth are paramount, I work in the financial services industry and couldn’t help but think about how this reminder should influence our stewardship efforts as well. The Bible instructs us to manage our wealth, skills, and talents for God’s glory. When studying the topic of biblical stewardship, Proverbs 13:22— “a good person leaves an inheritance to their children’s children”— is often referenced. But where do we go from there? Loving our heirs well includes instilling in them responsibility, skills, and knowledge so that that they may continue to steward goals for generations to come and make great impacts for His kingdom. A Reuters article on generational wealth referenced a study by US Trust that concluded 64% of the “High Net Worth” individuals interviewed had disclosed little to nothing about their wealth to their children. It also noted a study where 90 percent of affluent families lose their wealth by the third generation. Even a well-intentioned believer focused on good stewardship in the present moment may miss the mark when preparing his/her heirs for stewardship after they’re gone. What steps can we take to prepare our heirs?
Meet with an estate planner to ensure we are protecting them and structuring our financial affairs prudently should something unforeseen happen to us before they mature.
Engage in financial discipleship to share basic tenets of scripture related to work, giving, saving, spending, the source of our wealth, warnings against idolatry, slothfulness, debt, etc.
Moreover, as time passes, we should include our heirs in occasional conversations about wealth. Talk to them about lessons learned or mistakes we’ve made and remind them of the responsibility we have as believers to handle what God has given us with wisdom, attention, and responsibility. We wouldn’t hand a car key over to a 16-year-old without proper teaching. Likewise, we shouldn’t expect our heirs to be responsible for handling an inheritance of any size without guidance. The long play on stewardship recognizes our blessings come from the Lord and, if we are managing it for Him, we should make sure it will be managed well as we pass these resources to the next generation.
Have Questions? We are here to help you with this subject as so much more, contact us today!
Steve Crawley, PhD BMA Financial Executive Director