When those who are close to us suffer, we share in that suffering even if it is to a small degree. As Jesus suffered on the cross, the Scripture pulls the camera back to widen the angle of the setting. There we see Mary, the mother of Jesus, standing at the foot of the cross. One can only assume that she is considering what will happen to her once Christ is gone. It is at that moment that Jesus made provision for her future. He commended her into the care of the apostle John, who would from that moment going forward take responsibility for her care and well being.
Do you ever think about what the future will bring? Are you ever concerned about who will take care of you or your loved ones? Do you wonder if God will take care of your future? While on the cross Jesus spoke seven times. The third saying Jesus uttered is found in John 19:25-27:
“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” (NLT)
It is impressive that even while dying on the cross, Jesus was aware of Mary’s anxiety concerning her future. Certainly the majority of the disciples were nervous about what would happen to them, for the Scripture tells us that they were quivering with fear behind locked doors. Though Mary didn’t say a word, Jesus could see into her heart and sense the fear that gripped her. Jesus assumed responsibility for her concerns. As the eldest son of a widow it was his responsibility to care for her. Even though he had his hands full at the moment, he made provision for her immediate care through the apostle John. The words Jesus spoke fall awkwardly on our ears because they were the words of formal, legal adoption. Jesus did more than make quick arrangements. He formally made sure that Mary would be cared for as long as she lived.
Upon entering retirement, Randall began to make plans to care for his wife in case he should precede her in death. Using the sale of real estate and appreciated stock, he funded a Charitable Unitrust in the amount of $1,500,000 that would provide her with an income for the remainder of her life. Upon her death, the trust would then be liquidated and evenly divided between his church and his favorite charity. Randall was able to receive a tax credit for establishing the trust and avoid capital gains tax on his non-cash assets. He was also able to provide a lifetime income for his wife and leave a gift to his church in the amount of $750,000.
The Bible does not prohibit planning for the future. It does, however, speak strongly against being presumptuous about the future. James 4:13-15 states, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’.”
One of the responsibilities each of us has as stewards of God’s gifts is to plan wisely and to prepare for the future. Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount by challenging his listeners to build their lives on solid foundations so that they can withstand the external forces of wind and rain. Failing to prepare for the future is likened to building one’s life on shifting sand. All it takes is an unanticipated life event to cause significant loss.
The ability to prepare for the future is an undertaking that requires wise counsel from trusted advisors. We can provide your church with the available resources to design and develop a plan for the future. Contact us for a free gift planning report.