Abdicate – “to renounce or relinquish a throne, right, power, claim, responsibility …”
The movie “The King’s Speech” tells the fascinating story of two royal brothers struggling in their ascent to the throne. The usual storyline would involve a fight for the throne with all its intrigues and abuses of power. None of that here. This time, history takes a twist and finds neither heir ready or even capable of reigning. So we get to watch a captivating portrayal of one brother who self-destructs into abdication within a year, and the second-in-line brother who battles to fulfill the duties of his imposed office in the face of a serious speech impediment. Watching the second heir’s first attempts at public address leaves you saying ‘Give it up, Albert, ol’ boy.’ But, miraculously, he didn’t abdicate.
No way to do it all!
In the frenetic pace of modern life, I leave much undone that I wish I could do – much that should be done. Advances in travel, information, and labor-saving devices has exponentially expanded what I could do. Yet, I simply can’t do most of it. This can easily grow apathy in me for what gets neglected. ‘I never got around to that’ can be said about hundreds of things every day. It’s just a reality of life. If I let myself get worked up about it, I’d go crazy, so just relax becomes my attitude.
The trouble is, there are big roles in life where I dare not allow myself to slide into that attitude. I had better step up to the plate when it comes to being a dad. My wife, kids and God should all judge me critically if I fail to! Fathering kids and then leaving mother and offspring behind to get on with my life is serious abdication.
Most don’t have any trouble seeing a sin of abdication in the important role of fatherhood. So, why are most of us okay with it in the important role of stewardship? Before you stop reading because this doesn’t apply to me, let me share four abdications we make as stewards. God coronates us steward over home, business, retirement savings, property, investments, etc. Then most of us abdicate in at least one of these ways:
- Pass the responsibility to a probate judge. Apathy or fear leads us to let it slide until it’s too late. We die without making the tough decisions of a steward, so a judge and lawyers make them for us.
- Pass the responsibility to our kids. Our will or trust simply says in essence, leave it all to the kids, split evenly. Now our kids have to figure it all out and be of one mind in every decision – not likely. Because we abdicated, what is likely is that they will leave the process with damaged relationships
- Pass the responsibility to our secular advisers (CPA, financial planner, estate attorney). They may be sharp and trustworthy when it comes to minimizing money loss and maximizing money gain, but they don’t have the foggiest notion of how to make decisions like a biblical steward.
- Maintain your reign as a steward but perform poorly because you keep it all private. If we come down with cancer and decide to do our own diagnostics and self-treat, all our friends would view it as sad lunacy. Yet, when it comes to the transfer of a lifetime’s worth of God’s assets with the related financial techniques, complex legal matters and the potential for a ruinous impact on our heirs, we play lone ranger!
God has made us stewards of His things. That’s a pretty exalted role! So let’s not abdicate.
What you can do
If you’ve been sliding toward abdication in one of these four ways, we would love to help you get firmly seated again on your steward throne. Start making your plans with our secure online service. Walk through all the critical stewardship decisions with our complimentary Legacy Kit. Or, if your situation is complex, contact me to take advantage of our estate design service. Whatever you do, don’t give up your God-given role.