We may not have much control over when we leave this planet, but we do have a say in how we leave and the impact it will have on our families. When King Hezekiah became terminally ill, the prophet Isaiah said to him:
This is what the LORD says: “Put your affairs in order, for you are about to die” (2 Kings 20:1).
Abraham is an even better example of how to put our house in order because he didn’t have a heads-up like Hezekiah, and neither do we. I can think of at least three ways Abraham showed us how to put our houses in order:
By Updating Our Financial Affairs
Very few people can relate to the size of Abraham’s vast estate, but we all have something of value to leave our family. Sentimental value is as important to some people as financial value. I have too often seen friction surface during a time of grief, which is always unfortunate and usually avoidable.
A 2013 survey conducted by Lifeway Research found 37 percent of SBC pastors do not have a trust or will of any kind. More than half (55%) of all Americans will die without a will or trust, according to the American Bar Association. Almost half do not have any life insurance.
“If anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).
Abraham’s sons had an awkward reunion at their father’s funeral. Neither dickered over details because Abraham had it all pre-arranged (Genesis 25).
By Formalizing Our Funeral Plans
Some pastors don’t like to talk about death, which is strange considering how often we help others through it. You don’t have to like death in order to get ready for it. The fewer decisions your family has to make when you die, the better.
Shortly after Abraham’s wife Sarah died, he not only bought a funeral plot, he bought a whole cemetery! It was actually a nice cave, which was the upscale equivalent in that culture. Many family members were likely buried in Abraham’s family cemetery, including his great-grandson Joseph.
Does your family know what your funeral preferences and plans are? A few minutes of your time will save several tough hours for your family.
By Mending Our Family Fences
Abraham did not have a perfect track record, especially at home. He lied to, and about, Sarah more than once. Sarah pushed him into fathering an illegitimate child because they both grew tired of waiting. Favoritism between sons ran rampant and became a family tradition, which was passed down to succeeding generations.
Pastors are called to lead their homes as well as their churches. Since your family is your most important ministry, what do you need to do to put your house in order? Abraham’s family benefited not only from how he lived, but also how he died, as can yours.