February 25, 2014

Many individuals would like to make a thank offering to the Lord from their estate plan. Have you ever considered doing so?

Take a minute and think of the things that you are thankful to the Lord for. I’m sure that you can think of a number of earthly things. Your list may include your spouse, your children, grandchildren, and other family and friends. What about your health, your career, your home, your free country, your education, your car, your savings, etc.?

After you have thought about your earthly blessings, take some time and meditate on your spiritual blessings from the Lord. Think of your baptism where the Lord adopted you into His family and gave you forgiveness of your sins, life, and salvation.

After your baptism the Lord blessed you with His Word in many forms. The gift of Holy Communion is a blessing that the Lord gives us for our spiritual benefit. Ponder for a minute the blessings of our eternal salvation and life in the new Heaven and the new earth. What a blessing it is for us to think of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and some day we will be blessed to be in His presence.

One last way to thank the Lord for all of His blessings is to include a gift to the ministries of His church in our estate plan. We don’t have to do this to earn His favor but the Holy Spirit works through us to further the work in the Lord’s kingdom.

There are two parts to planning a thank offering to the Lord in your estate plan.

The first of these is to decide what asset from your estate could be used for your gift. The most common form of this type of gift is from an asset that is transferred by a beneficiary designation. That could be from life insurance, an annuity, an IRA, 401k, or other investment account. From a tax-wise stewardship position the gift from a tax-deferred account like an IRA, 401k, or an annuity would be the best. This is because if you leave a gift to a qualified charity from these accounts the charities will receive the gift tax-free.

The second part of planning your thank offering to the Lord is to meditate on the ministries of His church that could benefit from your gift. You will want to consider those ministries that the Holy Spirit has directed into your life. You have been joined to these ministries for a purpose. God wants to use you to further the mission of these ministries. He can use your time, talent, and treasures to do His work.

Is Lutherans For Life one of those special ministries that God has connected you to to do His work? Do you believe that the mission of Lutherans For Life of “Equipping Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices for Life” is part of God’s mission of His church on earth?

Please consider including Lutherans For Life in your thank offering gift from your estate plan. If you would like more information on doing this please contact me at jschroeder@lutheransforlife.org or call me at 515.490.7371. I would be glad to give you the help you need at no-cost or obligation.

Jim Schroeder is LFL’s Christian estate planning counselor.