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The devil is in the details vs. God is in the details
“Gary, did I share with you how God showed me the meaning of that verse in Proverbs 14:4 about the messiness in the stalls?” Yanna asked. We were in a vehicle on an interstate journeying from Ohio to Colorado. Yanna, our Russian God daughter, proceeded to tell Shannon and me the story of how God showed her vividly the meaning of this verse that she had been pondering for a season of time.
Without sharing her whole story, the essence of this passage is: if you want to have a productive life, there will often be messes which need to be addressed. The scripture uses the Biblical equivalent of power machinery, specifically oxen, to remind us that with a productive life there will be stalls that have to be cleaned out. That’s because oxen, while extremely productive, produce messes (use your imagination) –REGULARLY! So when scripture says in Proverbs (paraphrased), “Where there are no oxen, the stalls are clean but much fruit (production) comes by the strength of just one ox,” it is encouraging us all to get involved in a productive lifestyle. And when we are involved like this, we can expect to deal with stressful situations that take up our time and effort because it is a part of being productive, fruitful, and successful!
I find myself thinking at times that my life would be less complicated and busy if only I was more disciplined or organized. That is absolutely true, by the way. I need to be more of both, just ask my staff! However, it doesn’t mean I could ever live free from life’s stressful situations and neither can you -- not if we want to live meaningful, productive lives. The bottom line: we all have to clean out some messy stalls!
You have heard the old saying, “The devil is in the details!” Forgive me for being a little theological here but there is some truth to this. I think many of us find it easy to ignore certain situations because we are afraid of the cost in time, effort, and inconvenience. (Imagine an ox stall remaining uncleaned for years. They call it mucking out for a reason!) But there is another side to the issue -- God created and owns the details! When He is present, our outlook on the situation can be altogether different. Imagine a stall, once filthy beyond comprehension, being fully restored along with a plan of regular maintenance. Presents a different picture, doesn’t it? It’s almost like a plan for salvation, isn’t it?
For many years Faith Investment Services has invested time, effort, and resources to bring practical information to our clients, friends, and the public. In responding to what we perceived to be strong needs, we have held several workshops along the theme of preparing for the financial details/situations that develop as we age. You may have attended one of these that were variously named In Case I Die, In Case I Live, Leaving a Legacy, and so forth.
Let me introduce our next workshop, In Case My Parents Die. Yes, there is a little humor in the title and yet we are very sensitive that many of you may be grieving as you read this. Please don’t misunderstand -- we believe this workshop is much needed. There are far too many of these situations where “the devil is in the details.” That means most people are not doing any talking, much less planning, for something that is inevitable.
Some of the worst nightmares I have personally seen in my 27 years of practice have been situations where neither the parents nor children have communicated or planned, before a death occurs. To my disappointment, being a person of Faith does not seem to make much difference in the motivation of parents/children to communicate in this critical arena.
We want to help you begin a conversation with your adult children and/or with your parents. Consider coming to our workshop. We do not pressure you for business at any of our workshops. Your 'cost' will be a nominal donation to a local charity and some time and effort to understand how to start cleaning out your stall. :)
While our office was preparing this newsletter, I received a text from a dear friend, asking about a stressful incident I had recently had with an internet service provider. I gave her an update and her reply was, “God is in the details!” That simple text warmed me—both because of her concern for my ‘little’ problem but also because she quoted the title of this newsletter (before it even went to print!) It underscored for me that, yes, God is in the details. He cares when we are weighed down by details and he also, as Gary pointed out, often uses details as proof that we are productive and fruitful in our walk with Him.
Rather than shun the details, perhaps we should embrace them. That may mean having a difficult conversation with someone or it may require concerted effort. It may get MESSY!
I hope you’ll take time to come to the seminar. For parents who come (and perhaps bring their adult children), this could be an introduction to help you start talking about ‘the details.’ For children who have aging parents (or even those who someday will), this could be a time to ‘get an education’ about the details you’ll likely face in the future. The information you gain will take some of the ‘sting’ out of the details that follow.
TOPICS WE’LL ADDRESS
In this fast-paced seminar, we’ll talk about the financial ramifications of a parent’s death, the legal aspects, and also some aspects of care-giving along the way. Our goal throughout will be to lead you to have a conversation with your family and your advisers.
Attorney Scott Basinger will talk about the legal documents that can guide you through end-of-life care as well as those that help settle your estate.
Gary Reese, Investment Adviser Representative, will talk about various ways to transfer wealth according to your wishes.
Kathi Dunlap, remodeling contractor, will share information about making home modifications that allow parents to stay in their home longer and more safely.
Let’s face it! This topic isn’t much fun to think or talk about and it would be easier to just avoid the issue. However, we believe that if you’ll invest a couple of hours and ‘embrace the details.’ it could be life-changing for you and your family. Won’t you come?