This past month, March 2013, the Baptist Convention of Iowa (BCI) received the largest single gift in its history. The estate of Virgil Lindberg sent the convention just over $280,000 to be used in four areas which were dear to this early Iowa Baptist pioneer. About $119,000 was given for planting new congregations in Iowa. Just over $115,000 was given to develop a dynamic ministry among students in Iowa. And about $23,000 was given to help Iowa Baptists and BCI churches be involved in home mission partnerships and a similar amount for foreign mission partnerships.
We are told that a staggering 70% of Americans do not have a current will. Every American has an estate distribution plan. The question is who develops the plan, you or the government. If you die without a will the distribution of your estate will be decided by a judge in the probate system. Do you feel comfortable with an outsider who does not know anything about you, your family, or your passions giving away your assets? Virgil Lindberg certainly was not. He carefully planned his estate and made provisions so that the areas which were most important to him would continue to be blessed even after he was no longer around to help them.
You may be saying, “Well I don’t have any money.” You might be surprised. Most of the time when we think about our assets we think in terms of those resources which we use every day. This is only about nine percent of most peoples’ assets. Therefore, you probably have a lot more than you really think you do. Virgil was just like you and me. He worked for a living. In fact, he worked for the Santa Fe Railroad for 42 years before retiring.
He loved his church and was active in all aspects of the growing Baptist work in Iowa. His real passion was young people and missions. He led the Royal Ambassadors at his church, Fort Madison Baptist Church. During this time he set up a scholarship fund with the Baptist Foundation of Iowa to help Iowa young people go to college and seminary with the dream of equipping the next generation of Iowa Baptist leaders.
Lindberg not only gave out of the nine percent of his liquid assets, but he also made arrangements to give out of the remaining 91 percent which comprised his estate. Now, because of his planning and generosity new churches will be started, young people will be helped to find Jesus and continue their education, and Iowa Baptists will have an opportunity to be engaged in missions in the United States and around the world.
What about you? I am sure that you love your church and make regular contributions to its ministry and through it to ministry in Iowa and around the world. Do you have a will? Have you included a charitable contribution in your will designated for your church and the convention? God wants to continue using you to expand His Kingdom, please let Him do so.