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People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.  Proverbs 19.3


There are a lot of exciting at the beginning of a new year.  It is also a season of accountability and stewardship of family and resources. 


We have all experienced the sudden death of a loved one where there was no family plan or will. The spouse is left with little or no knowledge of bills, bank accounts and not even enough information about the insurance to pay for the burial.


Frustrations and despair exacerbate the grief process.  Often there is money but the remaining spouse does not have a clue how to access it.  Even in sickness, the family may not know what medications are being used or even the name of the physician. 


Proverbs 19.3 says” people ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord”.  We ruin our lives by not taking the necessary responsibility to protect our families at the very basic levels of information sharing.  We have told our friends more than our families and live under the myth that those closest to us should not know our business. What foolishness!  Why would you want your loved ones to suffer this way?


What a wonderful time during Black History Month for your family to discover you, and your history. This month, be forthright about your life.  List your basic historical information such as where you went to school, siblings’ names, and organizational memberships.  Place this information in a special place and review it annually.   Take some time to talk about who you are, from where you have come and how you got to where you are.  You have a story, just like other special African Americans, and we want your story to be known.


Make a list of all of your medications, doctors, and their telephone numbers.  Make a doctor’s appointment for a complete checkup and do not forget the dentist.   Provide information about assets, insurances, etc., including that hidden back account.  Check the accounts to see if information is current.  Is your first husband still listed as the beneficiary?  Does your wife have a key to the safety deposit box, your pin number or the password to the e-mail account?   Is there a living will and or a general will?  Who will be the guardian of your children?  What are you leaving the church?   Who gets custody of that famous recipe or the family pictures, even this can be serious business.     


This is a different level of stewardship.  Do not waste time, make haste.  This is your reasonable service.   Exhibit good stewardship, what if….


The Rev. E. Anne Henning Byfield

Presiding Elder, South District,

Indiana Annual Conference, AME Church
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