BP Toolbox

Setting your house in order


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 houses 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:

Update your 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 Southern Baptist pastors do not have a trust or will of any kind. More than half (55 percent) of all Americans will die without a will or trust, according to the American Bar Association. Almost half do not have any life insurance.

Scripture instructs us this way: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). 

Abraham’s sons did not need to dicker over the details because Abraham had it all pre-arranged (Genesis 25).

Formalize your 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 to get ready for it. The fewer decisions your family must make when you die, the better.

Shortly after Abraham’s wife Sarah died, he not only bought a funeral plot, but he also bought a whole cemetery! It was 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. 

Mend your 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 for one. 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.