You May Prosper LLC
and be in good health 3 John 1:2
Family Covenant Economics
At different times throughout my childhood, I remember my parents pointing out men in suits in the front of our store who were evidently checking out our inventory and displays because we were their competitors and they wanted to see how my parents did things. As a matter of fact, most people in business will tell you that it is imperative to scrutinize your competitors, yet I never remember my parents worrying about those who had similar businesses. They just focused on what they did best, working hard to provide their customer’s with the best products and the best service in the cleanest prettiest store in town.
Whether the movie Chariots of Fire accurately portrays the real character of Harold Abrahams or not, the antithesis between the focus of the character of the men who played Abrahams and Eric Liddell best exemplifies how we should run the race. In the movie, Abrahams who appeared to be running the race for himself kept looking around to determine the proximity of his competitor. In the end, he lost. Liddell, on the other hand, who openly ran the race to glorify God, turning neither to the left or the right, kept his eyes on the mark, won.
It reminds us of two verses, one in Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” And Colossians 3:23,24 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
Even though all of us are familiar with the idiom, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again”, not all of us will agree with the same standard of success, nor will all of us possess the same tenacity to achieve our goals. Success to some is perfection, and on the first attempt, no less, while others like Edison, considered each failed attempt as an integral asset to success.
For instance, it took Edison four years of testing more than 1600 materials before he found the right filament for a long lasting incandescent bulb. http://invention.smithsonian.org/centerpieces/edison/000_story_02.asp
The key to understanding his tenacity lies in the number of notes he took over that four- year period. Compiling 40,000 pages of notes, revealed a lot about this man. Not only was he not afraid to make mistakes, but also he used them as essential building blocks to achieve his goals. In other words, he really did not view set backs as failures; rather they were stepping-stones to success.
In his own words, he expresses this very concept, “I was never discouraged or inclined to be hopeless of success. If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is just one more step forward…” http://ezinearticles.com/?Thousands-of-Failures,-but-Thousands-of-Patents&id=20906
‘One more step forward’ is the essence of perseverance, which means: “to continue in the course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.”
Scripture says whereas “the wicked stumble in time of calamity”, “a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.” Proverbs 24:16 “For the LORD…does not forsake His godly ones; they are preserved forever.” Psalm 37:28
As the economy continues to decline, we must remember that God never forsakes His children; though they may fall, they will rise again. So we mustn’t allow failure to discourage us but instead use it as our ally in minimizing our losses in the future by addressing whatever precipitated the crisis. If you look at setbacks in the future with this perspective, you will continue with enthusiasm knowing that you have learned a valuable lesson. As Churchill stated, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” http://www.successories.com/iquote/author/184/winston-churchill-quotes/1
Without enthusiasm, after delayed progress achievements would hardly ever occur. Consider for example how the following men’s determined continuation resulted in achievements that far outweighed their setbacks. To begin with there is Walt Disney whose first company went bankrupt, followed by another near financial collapse to became “one of the best known motion picture producers in the world. The corporation is now known as The Walt Disney Company and had an annual revenue of approximately $36 billions in the 2010 financial year.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney
Similarly, after leaving IBM to start his own Electronic Data Systems Company, Henry Ross Perot faced 77 rejections of his own data processing system before he landed his first contract to become one of the richest men in America with a net worth of around $3.5 billion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Perot www.forbes.com/billionaires/
Likewise, in 1902, five businessmen began a mining operation to extract corundum for grinding wheel abrasives. Instead they found something of little value to them. During the next eighteen years they faced many setbacks including nearly going bankrupt, but their perseverance paid off in the end resulting in world’s first waterproof sandpaper. Their company, 3M, now produces over 75,000 products and has operations in more than 60 countries.
In like manner, George de Mestral, who after finding a burr on his clothes, spent nearly a decade of experimentation until he created Velcro and a multi million-dollar industry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_de_Mestral
To these examples might be added Milton Hershey whose road to sweet success was laden with bitter experiences that would have deterred most men, yet his perseverance immortalized his tenacity in the world renowned Hershey’s Chocolate. His remarkable success began at age 19 as he worked day and night to keep his business afloat. By age 25 he was forced to sell his business in Philadelphia to head off financial ruin due to sickness and mounting debt. This led him to learn invaluable lessons while working for a confectioner in Denver.
From there he opened another candy shop in Chicago, only to fail again, and then in New Orleans to fail again, and then in New York City, which failed again. Undaunted by these obstacles, he went on to found the Lancaster Caramel Company which soon expanded to three factories and 1300 employees.
During this time, he viewed a machine that rolled out chocolate at the World’s Fair in Chicago, which made him realize that he should make chocolates. The following year he began the Hershey Chocolate Company. Soon after he began, he created 114 varieties of chocolate candies. The included the world famous milk chocolate Hershey Bar. Previously unknown in the United States, milk chocolate became instant hit with Americans. Its popularity led Hershey to fulfill his dream of creating a factory that could mass produce this phenomenon within a Hershey community of employees housing, churches, schools, department stores, hospital, library, printing shop, café, barber shop, amusement park, and even its own zoo.
Although chocolate had historically been a luxury item, due to its hand made labor, by implementing modernized methods of innovative machinery, Hershey made chocolate affordable to everyone. By age 64, Hershey saw the blessings of his perseverance as sales soared to $20 million. Even during the Depression, when other companies were laying off their employees, Hershey kept his workers by advancing a grand building plan within his community which included a majestic 170-room hotel.
“Shortly after Hershey’s death in 1945, the chairman of the board of the National City Bank of New York would proclaim, ‘Milton Hershey was a man who measured success not in dollars, but in terms of a good product to pass on to the public, and still more in the usefulness of those dollars for the benefit of his fellow man.” This was obvious when he and his wife turned their deep disappointment of being childless into a blessing for orphaned boys when they opened an industrial school to help these children learn a trade that could give them an advantage which they would not have otherwise. Milton Hershey’s School and home for 1200 underprivileged children now sits on 9,000 acres. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/197530# http://www.thehersheycompany.com/about-hershey/our-story/milton.aspx
Since success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” than success is measured in terms of our purpose, which for us is summed up in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. The Word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him. The scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.”
No one had more reason to be despondent than Robert E. Lee, yet after such a horrific devastation of his home, his state, his people, and the solid biblical multigenerational foundation of his country, he said, “The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.” http://thinkexist.com/quotes/robert_e._lee/3.html
Clearly, he understood God’s Sovereignty and like Matthew Henry, knew that although “Duty is ours; the events are God’s.” http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/judges/mhc/judges13.htm
In essence, this means that as long as our aim is for God’s glory, regardless of the outcome, we have achieved success. Our perspective-‘the measured assessment of the situation’ is the key. For us that means keeping our eyes on God regardless of the circumstances. In truth, a person’s paradigm for success relies more on their perspective of God and their purpose in relationship to Him, than on any other factor.
“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, an din your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless or unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 1:3-8
FINANCIAL FREEDOM for Your Family
1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…”
Financial freedom naturally means different things for different people but for our family it means freedom from the burden of debt, freedom to provide for our children in the manner we choose, freedom to advance God’s kingdom beyond tithing, freedom to invest our monies in whatever savings plan we deem best, which so happens to be our own family, consequently allowing us the freedom to leave a goodly inheritance to our children, so as to build wealth for our posterity to take dominion of our culture.
Contrary to guilt manipulators, being rich is not evil, nor is money the root of all evil. Instead “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” God goes on to say, “that some people craving money have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.” (1 Timothy 6:10) This is due to the fact that we cannot “serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24) Because all our work is to be done “heartily, as for the Lord” Colossians 3:23
However, this does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that riches are evil. In fact, the “blessing of the Lord makes one rich.” (Proverbs 10:22) And we know that God certainly blessed our own forefather Abraham with great wealth of gold, silver, cattle, sheep, camels, donkeys, and servants. (Genesis 24:35) God is the one who enables us to produce wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and makes us abound in prosperity (Deuteronomy 28:11 Deuteronomy 26:10) for “in all labor there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23) which God actually requires of us. Matthew 25
Take the parable of the talents in Luke 19:11-27. God distributes His wealth to several servants according to their abilities. The first two immediately go to work to increase their master’s money while the third showed his contempt by doing absolutely nothing. Upon the master’s return, He commends the diligent workers ‘as good and faithful servants’ because they used His wealth to make more, thus He rewarded their labor by giving them even greater responsibilities here and eternal joy in the kingdom of heaven.
Conversely, he condemned the third servant for his negligent hand with His master’s money, calling him evil and lazy. He took the money from him and gave it to the one who made the most profit and then cast the bum into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. A similar parable in Matthew 26 actually goes on to say in verse 26, “I tell you that everyone who has will be given more, but from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”
Financial freedom results more from wise choices than anything else from prudent planning, hard work, saving, wise investing, and careful management of expenses.
In spite of this truth, although most people think earning more money is the key to financial freedom, accumulating wealth is more about saving, or in other words, spending less than what you make. For “there is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man consumes them.” Proverbs 21:20
Many men of very modest means have accumulated a fortune over time just by saving a portion of their small salaries each week. The old saying goes, “The rich understand interest, while the poor pay it.” Of course, we should be working towards increasing our income, but often the more people make, the more they spend, coming up short at the end of their lives. So we really need to be thinking in terms of God’s paradigm when it comes to our perspective on money, because financial freedom is really more about self-control and wise choices, than increasing our income.
To begin the process of saving more money, thoroughly examine your everyday expenditures to ascertain which expenses might be eliminated or reduced. Although everyone’s priorities are different, it is important to ascertain the value and benefit of each purchase or service by asking these simple questions. Is this congruent with our present goals? Does this purchase benefit the entire family? How often will it benefit our family and for how long? Will it benefit future generations? Could I purchase this for less money elsewhere?
Possible eliminations might comprise cable television, software, video games, magazine subscriptions, music lessons, dance lessons, sports activities, and gym memberships, all of which usually involve individual family members in isolation from one another, negating family solidarity. This consideration alone quickly eliminates a host of superfluous acquisitions that do nothing to strengthen the family bonds.
These questions are also beneficial in controlling impulse spending, which encompasses a wide range of temptations all the way from dashing for fast food to purchasing golf clubs, just because they are a great deal even though you don’t presently golf, to picking up a pack of gum in the check out lane on the way out the store. For something like fast food, a little planning like packing snacks or running errands after lunch goes a long way in staving off hunger. The significance of the idiom that ‘if you take care of the pennies the dollars will take care of themselves’ is clearly seen in the spending habits of many families, who while out and about, pick up coffee, soda, snacks, or fast foods on a regular basis, but never have enough money to take their family to a nice restaurant for great cuisine and fellowship.
On the other hand there are those who just cannot pass by a good deal, whether at a store or a garage sale, even though the product is not something anyone in the family needs or really desires. Controlling impulse spending is most easily accomplished by limiting shopping trips and purchases to only those things that are needed or by simply walking away from temptations that waylay the undisciplined. It often amounts to how much value we place on blessing our family with quality, instead of piddling our money away on inferior products. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5
At the same time, reviewing monthly bills may reveal ways to further reduce expenditures. For instance, since mortgage payments are usually families’ largest monthly expense, it pays to reduce the cost and shorten the years of mortgage payments. With interest rates at historic lows, just by refinancing a mortgage, you can reduce your balance by thousands of dollars. However, unless you are in dire straits, don’t be tempted to reduce your current payment even though you secure a lower one. Instead continue paying your present mortgage payment, because just one extra payment a year applied to your principle can reduce your balance by ten’s of thousands while also cutting years off the life of your loan. Take into account that it does cost to refinance, but in many cases, the savings far outweigh the refinancing fee. In our particular case, when we refinanced our home mortgage, we ended up saving our family $40,000-all by lowering our interest rate a few points.
Before going further, let me say that a mortgage is the only debt we can justify because it does not make sense renting, when monthly payments could be going towards building equity in your own home. However with that said, our goal is for each of our children to own their homes debt free, on land free and clear before they marry. We hope to do this from business profits and inheritance. This, too, is the blessing of working together as a family and working towards common goals, which bless the entire family.
Count the Cost
Successful people look at the big picture and count the cost before they build to make certain there is enough to complete the project with money left over for the essentials, the non-essentials, the future, and the emergencies that life brings. (Luke 14:28) They set goals, and discipline themselves as they work towards those goals.
Regardless of your personal finances, establishing goals is the foundational building block for success. This includes setting priorities through planning long-term goals and short-term goals, while applying self-discipline to saving and spending. For parents this means setting a chartered course for the family so everyone, including the children, knows where they are headed. Clearly conveying goals so even the youngest comprehends, enables the family to pull together towards a common purpose.
For many families, the first goal might be to create an emergency fund, followed by eliminating debt, saving for a business, and then for a larger home. Regardless of particular circumstances, the most important aspect of the planning is that it is realistic, as it is far better to experience gradual progress than continual setbacks. Frustration over idealistic goals that are unattainable not only thwarts enthusiasm, but also often defeats the entire plan.
Goals should be beneficial not detrimental. Therefore, don’t get hung up on what you put in print. Instead be flexible enough to adjust according to your family’s needs. It is not about what is best for someone else, but what is best for you. Again, it is better to experience even minimal advancement over major setbacks, so plan accordingly.
Manageable Steps and Reasonable Time Frames
As with everything it is easier to achieve goals when they are broken down in manageable baby steps within reasonable time frames. But before we begin delineating a proven formula worth your consideration, let us encourage you to put first things first by humbling yourself before God, repenting of your sins in failing to follow God’s direction on managing your monies, and beseeching Him to help you manage your money according to His will for financial freedom. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Then take the first practical step by destroying all your credit cards, except for debit cards that provide you access to the money in your account. If even these prove to be a snare, convert to cash payments, except when paying bills. This first step is crucial to the success of your plan. Simply stated: don’t purchase anything unless you have the money to pay for every penny of it.
Genesis 41:35,36 “Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it. Let the food became as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.”
Since most people are idealists instead of realist, they fail to place much importance on the future, and therefore are ill equipped for unexpected occurrences in their lives. Remember the consequences we talked about earlier-banking dreams on projected income rather than on savings? Since we cannot foresee the future, we must prudently save for unpredictable events because they most certainly occur in everyone’s life. Emergencies are sudden crisis’s that require immediate treatment and include such things as loss of employment, illness, and repairs. No one plans these, but everyone should plan for these. In other words, we should build a reserve for unexpected expenses or financial famine.
If you happen to have a lot of debt, this approach may not seem like the sensible thing to do, but you certainly don’t want to face an emergency on top of your existing debt. Therefore, begin by setting aside money each week until you accumulate six months of living expenses. Once this is in place, you can comfortably begin working harder towards eliminating your debt, while still putting money into savings.
An initial formula might look like this. Tithe 10%. Set aside 20% for an emergency fund. Pay 10% toward debt. Use 50% for living expenses-housing, food, utilities, clothing, insurance, taxes, transportation… and 10% for family celebrations-gifts or activities that benefit the entire family.
When the six-month emergency fund is in place you should adjust the blueprint to fit your scope of debt, which could look like this: Tithe 10%. Debt repayment 30%. Living expenses 50%. Family Celebrations 10%. Or, depending on the amount you owe, it could look something like this. Tithe 10%. Save 10%. Debt 20%. Living expenses 50%. Family celebrations 10%.
If you have multiple debts, try to consolidate them for a lower interest rate or transfer the highest interest rate balance to the lower interest rate card. If you are unable to consolidate or transfer balances, consider these two trains of thought. Most financial advisors would probably suggest paying down the highest interest rate debt first. However, psychologically, it is sometimes better to relieve the financial burden faster by working on the lowest balance first. So you end up paying the minimum payment on each except the one with the lowest balance. On that debt you would put everything you possibly could towards eliminating that debt. Once paid off, you would take that same monthly payment and put it towards the monthly payment of the next lowest balance and pay that off, continuing this same method of elimination until everything is gone.
Then once you are completely out of debt, you are free to give more to advancing the kingdom, more to savings, and more to the family. However, to inspire a confidence in your final success, reward your family for their efforts, along the way, with gifts towards future goals, both short and long term. Short-term goals may include such things as a new game, a night of fine dining, a ping-pong table, or historical trip to the East Coast. Long-term goals might include country property, farm, or vacation home.
To make your progress more tangible, consider creating charts similar to the ones churches use to display the members’ progress towards their building fund. Children love this sort of visual incentive and love being part of the process so let them color in the next rung of the bar graph to show the graduated weekly progression towards your family’s goals whether it is in the column for the emergency fund, debt repayment, savings, or family celebrations. The children could also be the ones to track the spending and the savings on a spreadsheet.
Spendthrift And Tight Wad
Whenever people determine to depart from their own sins, or the preceding generations patterns of sin, and return to the ancient paths of biblical wisdom, they naturally tend to over compensate by shifting too far in the opposite direction. On their behalf, it is most often due to the lack of immediate examples, but then again, it sometimes occurs from overzealousness, which, unfortunately, distorts one’s point of view. Coming from families that squandered their own inheritance, they see the obvious sin of being a spendthrift, but fail to realize the sins of the tight wad, which in the name of frugality becomes a penny-pinching stingy ogre. In truth, there is no virtue in either the spendthrift or the tight wad.
In short, conserving financial resources does not require living in deprivation but instead, obliges us to carefully choose purchases that meet everyone’s needs. This in fact, according to scripture, includes the biblical mandate to celebrate God’s goodness by enjoying the fruit of our labor. God is efficient, but generous. The difference resides in our perspective of value, somewhat like the person who has no trouble spending money on fast food, but would never treat their family to fine dining because they considered it too expensive. When in fact, if the money spent on fast food were saved over time, there would be plenty for an exquisite dining experience that would last a lifetime in everyone’s memory. In other words, improve the quality of your life by ruthlessly cutting back on items that are not important so you can spend them on things that are. After all, God created excellent things for our enjoyment.
As an illustration, for several years, we lived with an empty dining room because we were waiting to purchase an antique dining room set that we could pass down to our children’s children. So in spite of the gorgeous foil wallpaper which lined the walls and fine wool carpeting that covered the floor, the room sat vacant until we were able to afford a lovely Duncan Fife set to match the other fine materials we chose to make this room something very special for the entire family.
Unlike the compulsive shopper who would have gone through two cheap dining sets by now, or the tight wad who would not allow the set to be used because it cost too much money, we have had this set for thirty years and use it everyday for every meal.
It all revolves around a family’s vision and the value they place on quality. For us this meant purchasing quality antiques and recovering them every twenty years or so instead of replacing cheap pieces every ten years. Equally important to us was living in a home we could afford but one with character-namely one with less living space but with amenities like ten-foot ceilings, six-foot windows, and four and a half inch molding. Likewise, we stayed in the small house in the city in order to afford a second home in the country so the children had the pleasure of enjoying God’s country.
Again, let me reiterate, it all hinges on our perspective. For instance, over and over again, support group leaders, speakers, and even vendors, admonished Jon and I to stop subsidizing our conferences’ deficits by raising our registration prices to bring them in line with the quality we offered. We knew they were worth much more than what we were charging but we did not want anyone to miss out on the excellent instruction. Consequently, instead of increasing the registration fees, as conference expenses increased, we just worked harder as a family to cover the conference shortfall. On top of this, we also covered the registration fee for families that said they could not afford to come. Yet upon further examination, we discovered that these same families who said that they could not afford the conference, lived in bigger homes than we did and in better neighborhoods, drove new or newer vehicles, had flat screen television sets, computers for every family member, fancy phones, cable television, and their children in a host of extracurricular activities, all of which cost a lot money, while we were scrimping to cover their registration and the rest of the conference expenses.
For some that meant willingly spending money to stream garbage into their home via cable television or the Internet but reluctantly spending it so their children could learn truth from the godliest men in the country. My point is this: I have finally learned the hard way that people spend their money on the things they desire for themselves and their children.
For our particular family, that meant that we lived in an old small house in an old neighborhood for 35 years. We didn’t purchase new vehicles, but used ones with at least 80,000 miles. Vacations were sporadic. We did not have a closet full of clothes but the clothes we had were good quality. Our children did not take music lessons, gymnastics, dance, drama, or participate in sports activities, because we purposed to spend our money on gifts and activities that would integrate and bless the entire family. So instead of spending our monies on things and activities which our culture considers necessities, we used our monies on hardbound books to increase our children’s libraries, on antique furniture that will one day adorn their own homes, on four wheelers, horses, and historical vacations that created wonderful memories of shared discoveries, and for dining out at fine restaurants which provided wonderful opportunities for discipleship. Again, it is a matter of what each family deems important and valuable.
Our fast paced, pagan culture naturally fosters short sightedness-a view that is antithetical to multigenerational vision, so make certain that your purchases coincide with your vision for your family, and the legacy you wish to leave for your posterity.
PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
The annals of business history are replete with failures as illustrated in the following statistics. “The failure rate of family firms—fewer than 12% survive to the third generation—dismays many entrepreneurs. Yet even the biggest non-family firms are no safer from the Grim Reaper. Some 70% of the original 1955 Fortune 500 companies are gone today, barely two generations later.” http://www.familybusinessmagazine.com/index.php?/articles/single/entrepreneering_your_family_firm/
Practically speaking, these failures are most often due to negligent managers. When we think of new businesses as toddlers, we realize the necessity of constant supervision, but also like a toddler, we can look to the day when our labors will reap productive blessings. In other words, maintaining family continuity from generation to generation requires prudent planning from beginning to end-in training children towards that goal, in choosing a business that will remain viable for generations, in meticulous management, in creating a trust that conforms to biblical principles so that the property will be secured for your beneficiaries, specifically those that remain faithful to the covenant, in keeping your privately held enterprise in the family, and finally in preparing your children for the hardest test they will ever face.
Although we have covered many facets of training, allow us to reiterate that biblical instruction is paramount to the success and maintenance of your endeavor, without which your business will fail, and your family continuity cease. Do not take it for granted that your children know the biblical method for success and blessings. Make certain that they fully understand these principles by discussing them with them on a regular basis. Also be diligent in ascertaining their heart’s motives so that you are able to disciple them on the necessary alterations to their character flaws.
Neither of us think that we can train our children in such a way as to save them, because we know that each of us were born with a depraved nature which can only be regenerated by the power of the holy spirit. Therefore we diligently pray for each of our children on a regular basis, regardless of how much evidence they exhibit as being saved by grace, for only God knows the true condition of their hearts. On the other hand, we do believe that we can judge their profession by their fruit or lack of, so we do examine their actions, help and admonish them to examine their own hearts, hold them accountable for their sins, and give them a hope by sharing our own sins and God’s gracious mercy towards our repentant hearts.
Choose A Viable Enterprise
As technology continues to propel us into undiscovered horizons, making products and services obsolete, choosing a business that will remain viable for succeeding generations is not always possible. However, with considerable forethought and room for diversification, this can be accomplished to a greater degree than one might expect. Although a vast cultural transformation has occurred over the past two hundred years, due to the sheer number of inventions, careful examination of the oldest companies in the world over the same two hundred years reveals a pattern of viability, which is worth our investigation. As one would expect, businesses related to food consumption are at the top of the list. These fields include seeds, farms, orchards, wineries, breweries, flourmills, confectionaries, bakeries, salt works, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, cheese, chocolate, coffee, butchers, grocers, restaurants, tea and herb producers, fishing flies, linens, and tableware. From there the fields expand to encompass construction, sawmills, tools, wood working, stone works, stonemasonry, mining, foundries, metal works, iron, silversmiths, blacksmiths, aluminum, paper mills, glass, paint, rope, candles, ceramics, pottery, beds, furniture, clocks, house wares, flowers, textiles, buttons, clothing, leather, shoes, brushes, cosmetics, jewelry, perfume, chemicals, pharmacies, firearms, knives, publishing, fuel, boat building, hotels, and bank.
Ultimately, these companies boil down to ten basic fields that center on the essentials, which makes perfect sense. They all revolve around-Food, Housing, Clothing, Health, Protection, Education, Fuel, Travel, Hospitality, and Finances. So keep your choices within the confines of these fields, because man will always need products and services that focus on his fundamental needs.
Careful management of your family dynasty is not only a necessary requirement for optimum performance but also for survival. It requires wisdom to plan, organize, schedule, guide, develop, promote, and maintain. God must be at the head, husband and wife equally yoked so they pull in unison, with children falling in line. Daily examination and discernment, identification of problems, and timely corrections are crucial, so don’t fall into a stupor of complacency that all will continue as it has, because that is a sure route to failure.
Since history testifies to the frequent loss of family fortunes over the course of several generations or less, it behooves us to set the course by laying out a multigenerational plan to safeguard the business so that it stays within the family. This can be accomplished by setting forth a living will that expressly passes on our business, properties, and possessions to our children. This renegade culture requires prudent safeguards to protect our family’s business for our family, so an unfaithful spouse cannot wrest it away from our children by forcing a sale of businesses, houses, or lands. Biblically, an inheritance is for our posterity, therefore spouses benefit as long as they remain faithful to the covenant of marriage, otherwise they forfeit that blessing.
Due to the nature of this subject and its impact on your family’s future, we thought it best to encourage immediate action on your part to seek legal counsel in protecting your family. To avoid costly expenses of probate, to minimize the government’s legalized plunder of your children’s inheritance, and to protect your minor children from state appointed guardians, it is imperative that you pursue an estate attorney that will properly plan your trust and will.
In our case, we used a Christian estate attorney with a biblical understanding of property and inheritance to set up a revocable living trust so that all of our possessions would pass to our children, and then down the line to our children’s children without the risk divorce poses to an unprotected fortune.
In view of the fact that this is a very important aspect of Covenantal Families, we included our children in all of our estate planning and financial advisory meetings, so that they fully understood every facet of the document that governs our possessions and their subsequent roles, so that they are equipped to handle our family’s estate.
Some of the things that we included in our trust were naming both Sonia and Jedidiah as Josiah’s guardians. We also named both of them as Trustees of our estate and gave both of them Power of Attorney, so that they share the responsibility and continue to work together even after we are gone. We also had our family business and estate written up in such a way as to protect it from any possible divorce situations. Biblically, an inheritance passes on to the children, and from them to their children, and so forth, therefore what a family has worked for belongs to the family, related by blood, and should not be placed in jeopardy because of a wayward spouse. Although we are training our children to remain faithful in marriage, that training does not completely spare them from the possibility of divorce, thus we have ensured that our estate will pass down to our heirs for perpetuity.
It was also structured with the least tax consequences. The other advantages to trusts include the ability to alter the governing rules so it can be adjusted according to the family dynamics. And if set up properly, provides a very cost effective alternative to a will because it will not pass through probate or any court, so you save all those fees. In addition to this, there are no delays in transferring the estate to the heirs.
Typically, a trustee is appointed to faithfully administer the directives contained within the document, both in issues regarding the health and financial care of elderly parents, and the assets for the rest of the family. To better safeguard our property, and to divide the workload so that it does not rest on one person’s shoulders, we designated both Jedidiah and Sonia as trustees. Each has proven to possess solidly biblical beliefs while also consistently exercising prudent judgment, therefore making them the best choice for everyone involved. They also possess different strengths, which will prove to be an asset through the subsequent transition and daily management of our enterprises once we become incapacitated or deceased.
Please do not overlook this vastly important aspect of covenantal living. For although we live in a time and place where life expectancy exceeds 70 years, none of us know the day or time when God will call us home, making this facet of our multi-generational vision crucial for protecting our children’s future.