(Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 14)
|1 Kings 19:4-8
||2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
|John 6:35, 41-51
||John 6:35, 41-51
MY LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
As an adult, it took me far too long to make a will. Who wants to consider the time of one's death? Besides, there was nothing complicated about my estate, I reasoned. Anything I had would just go to my family.
Later, I learned that I was making some big assumptions. There's more to a will than money. There are other decisions to be made, from the care of my children to my own wishes for myself in a medical situation. Without a will, I was not being responsible to myself, or my family. But I still didn't want to do it.
When I finally did it, I discovered something wonderful in my will: I could be extravagantly generous to the institutions that have mattered to me. It wouldn't cost me a thing, or cause me one worry or make a dent in my lifestyle. My children are already used to the notion that we don't keep all the money we earn, so they won't be surprised that they won't get to keep all their parents' money later. In fact, I like to think that the gifts we had designated for others might even bring our children a little joy at a sad time.
It gives me joy to think that one day I can leave a surprising and unexpected gift to a church that has long since forgotten my name. (And yes, I would prefer that enough time has passed that they have forgotten my name.)
These churches will get a gift they didn't expect from someone they may not remember, unearned, no strings attached. It's a small gesture compared to the gift of life eternal, and the legacy of a cloud of witnesses bigger than us all.
Rev. Lillian Daniel
First Congregational Church UCC, Glen Ellyn, IL