Friday, February 17, 2012

1 Timothy 5:8

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

On Preparation and Attachment

Preparation is important. The Bible tells us so, clearly. It is up to us to prepare and to provide for our own house. But the verse also says to "provide for his own." Who are "his own?" That's a question that I think each person has to answer in front of the Lord for himself.

We prepared, we diligently put aside money for savings, trying to live within our means, trying to provide for others around us as well. For us, "his own" was anyone in our small group, our homeschool group, or Layne's office. We put aside monies, we tried to help wherever we could. Sometimes it was money for medical expenses, sometimes it was Christmas gifts left on a porch all wrapped--on Christmas Eve. Sometimes, it was a ticket to Promisekeepers or Dare2Share.

We prepared for our family, or we thought we had. We were both covered with life insurance. We assumed we had ENOUGH life insurance. We had savings for emergencies. However, we had no idea how large the bills from a medical emergency could be. We assumed (wrongly) that our health insurance would take care of us. We had the best plan available--of course they would keep up their end of the bargain if we paid premiums, right?

Now, let's talk attachment. I'm not talking about the attachment you have to your wife, or your children...I'm talking having your accounts attached by an outside source. For instance, the IRS or a hospital.

They don't do that to widows and widowers, do they? Yes, they do. In a community property state, your spouse's debts are your debts. When he or she dies, the bills do NOT go with him or her. They are laid at the doorstep of the remaining spouse for payment.

Ahhhhh but you can have a trust, correct? Yes, you can. But a trust does not protect you from these bills. Your family trust can be attached, you can be sued, and the entity that is owed money can take it, and most likely, they will.

Now, let's talk providing and preparing. If there was one message I could give to men out there it would be: Really prepare. If tomorrow, you didn't come home from work, what would you want your family's life to look like? Do you want your wife to continue being a stay at home mom? Do you want to continue homeschooling? Do you want them to move closer to family?

Well, then you must save and provide insurance to cover that. But more than this, you must provide for the bills you will leave.

What if you are placed on a respirator for ten years. Who pays those bills? You have no life insurance payout in most cases (some pay half if the condition is terminal.) Do you have disability insurance to cover you?

How will your wife get health insurance for the children? Have you provided for THAT?

What if you don't die in an accident, but you get cancer. Do you realize you will probably leave behind, no matter what insurance you have, hundreds of thousands in bills that are due upon your death?

You need to insure for those bills, as well.

Now, to those who have friends who are widows or widowers... before you begin throwing rocks:

Most widows and widowers I know were not made wealthy upon the death of their spouse. They were mostly financially devastated. Yet good "friends" will whisper "Well, she/he should be able to pay for that, he/she just got life insurance." "Did you see that Bob got a new lawnmower? His wife must have left money."

Hint: They do extend credit to widows and widowers--having something new doesn't mean the item was paid for in cash.

Or, worse yet: "Why didn't he or she leave enough for his spouse to live on?"

I find that most couples have NO IDEA the money that a long illness can take from the family. There can be job loss, there can be medical expenses not covered by insurance. There will be decisions that at the time, you cannot make in a logical fashion--what would YOU pay, for instance, if you thought there was a possible cure for a disease that was sure to take your spouse? $40,000? $100,000, $1,000,000?

I once spoke to a lawyer friend, and we both believed that churches should do seminars for couples on preparation. There should be resources to explain the REALITIES of trusts and wills, the importance of saving and insurance, and why it is important to prepare now, for something we will all face one day, physical death.

I think that perhaps, in this case, "your own" is the members of your church. And perhaps, we need to care for our own with teaching and care. Now THAT is a church program I can get behind.

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