The Goodbye Kiss: Providing for Your Loved Ones
- Monday, March 15, 2004
I'm sitting at the gate waiting for my flight to the Sunset Church of Christ where I'm due to present No Debt No Sweat!, the Christian money management seminar that I teach. Before she dropped me off, my best buddy (spelled, w-i-f-e) gave me a great good-bye kiss. The sky-cap, the gate people, even the girl who sold me my Diet Coke have been nice-but that goodbye kiss is what I'll remember most.
There are all sorts of goodbye kisses. Some are long and embarrassingly passionate. Others are pecks on the cheek-expressing all the warmth of a corporate merger. Some are between husbands and wives, others are between sisters and brothers, or children and parents. Personally I'm always uncomfortable when, in Russia or Cairo, another guy tries to kiss me goodbye. (Culture only goes so far.)
Recently I witnessed a different type of goodbye kiss. It occurred between a mother and her daughter, and was one of the most touching goodbye kisses ever. Actually, it wasn't a physical kiss at all. Instead it was the way Sandra (not her real name) said goodbye to her 14-year old daughter, Bonnie.
Sandra and I had been friends for years. She was the sunshine that I looked forward to in the Sunday school class I teach at the Antioch church. She was always ready to take on a project, lend a hand, or give me a word of encouragement when I needed one.
But about four years ago things for Sandra changed. Sandra learned she had breast cancer. The time since has been both good and bad. Some days have been filled with smiles-others have been spent sick in the bathroom. As this year passed, so did the better days. Sandra became sicker and sicker. Four months ago I prayed with Sandra, kissed her forehead, and committed to the loving hands of God.
It was about a month ago when Sandra's parents asked me to help them review the financial plans for Bonnie's future. I suppose my heart sank a little. I've been through this before-too many times. Someone dies without planning for the dependants left behind. Then a tough situation becomes even worse.
What a pleasant surprise I got when I asked, "Did Sandra leave anything for Bonnie?"
"Yes," her mother told, "she bought a $400,000 life insurance policy several years ago-it all goes to Bonnie."
"Wow-thank you Lord," I thought, "what a beautiful goodbye kiss!"
Maybe this sounds like a strange subject for an on-line Christian magazine. But I don't think it is. As I get older, I'm learning that my God is the God of the real world. He knows we live where the rubber meets the road. And I believe it is God's will for us to do the best we can here in the nasty now and now, while we're waiting for the beautiful bye and bye.
I, also, realize that there are those who will differ with me on this point. Some people feel that it is more spiritual simply to "trust God to provide than to depend on the devices of man." But I find it curious that these same people are often willing to use other "devices of men" like door locks and seatbelts.
Let me share some quick thoughts on blessing others with the insurance decisions you make today:
1) Generally, I encourage people to carry 8-12 times their income in life insurance. Typically, this is enough to help a family get through the roughest times and get their feet back on the ground.
2) In most cases, I recommend term insurance over whole-life coverage. Frequently referred to as "pure insurance protection," term insurance doesn't include the cash value feature that distinguishes whole life. Accordingly, term is usually significantly less expensive than the same amount of whole life coverage. (If a 35-year old can purchase $250,000 of whole-life insurance for $3,000/year; he could probably buy a $250,000 term policy for $180-$300/year.)
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