Being prepared
January 11 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Being prepared | Friday, Jan. 11, 2002

Friday, Jan. 11, 2002

Being prepared

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor I like to be prepared. Don't you? When the cold weather and snow arrived in early January, our family was prepared. We had two snow shovels in hand, our pantry was stocked, and a new set of gas logs burned cheerily in the fireplace as we awaited the first flake.

When a speaking assignment comes up at one of our fine churches, I like to be prepared. Worshipers who make the effort to attend church deserve to hear a sound sermon based on careful study of scripture and thoughtful application to current needs. There are times, I believe, when the Spirit moves and adds new insight during the preaching of a sermon, but only the most irresponsible preacher/teacher/speaker would stand before a group of listening people without proper preparation.

When it's time to begin some job around the house, materials have to be gathered, time set aside, things set in order. Few things are more frustrating than running out of paint after the stores have closed, or getting a strip of wallpaper up before realizing that there's not a sharp razor blade or X-acto knife in the house.

Only those who have gone through a wedding can fully appreciate the amount of planning and preparation that goes into that event. Wars have been fought with less preparation than the average wedding.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how important it is to be prepared, but rocket scientists know it better than most people. There are no handy hardware stores in outer space, so the most vital systems on rockets, spacecraft and satellites must be built in duplicate or triplicate. That requires some serious thinking ahead.

Thinking ahead is also necessary when it comes to financial planning for retirement. Most of us look forward to some manner or measure of retirement, but also know it doesn't happen automatically. Living above the bare subsistence level in retirement will require disciplined saving and careful investment of funds long before age 65.

But what about post-retirement planning?

Death eventually comes to all of us, sometimes prior to retirement. Have we prepared for that?

Preparing for death is a multi-faceted proposition.

Spiritual preparation is important, of course. We need to develop a relationship with God that we can trust to continue even beyond the grave. Christians believe that relationship comes through an acceptance of God's grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. It is not something to be put off for tomorrow. We need to be prepared today.

Another aspect of preparing for death is emotional. It is natural, perhaps, for us to fear death and not want to talk about it. But it is also natural to expect death. Those who learn to accept and even embrace the reality of death are more likely to get the most from life.

A final aspect of preparing for death has to do with estate planning. There are few things we can do that are more considerate and helpful to surviving children, family or friends than to carefully plan what is to become of our estate.

That's where a "Last Will and Testament" comes in, but good estate planning goes beyond just filling in the blanks of a generic will.

Did you know, for example, that you can leave all or part of your estate to your children - and to worthy causes such as your church or our fine retirement homes, children's homes, colleges and other institutions?

It sounds like magic, but it works. You can't have your cake and eat it, too, but you can give away your estate, and leave it to your children, too.

To learn more about this concept and other responsible estate planning information, contact the N.C. Baptist Foundation at (800) 521-7334 or (919) 380-7334 in the Raleigh area. They're not the Boy Scouts, but they know all about the motto "Be Prepared." That is their job, and they will be happy to help you.

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1/11/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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