Radical Living: ‘Take what God has given to you and give it back’
Connections talked to nationally known investment advisor and Triad Baptist Estate Planning Team Chairman Jay Tyner about the church’s “Radical Living” effort. In the final installment of a new three-part interview series, Tyner highlights some oft-overlooked giving strategies, non-financial ways to give, and addresses some common questions about church and personal finances.
How does “Radical Living” encourage and acknowledge investments of time and talent as well as money?
Tyner: “You know I feel very inadequate in playing the trumpet with the brass choir. However, I enjoy doing it. My parents were missionaries to Africa and we lived on an extremely small financial budget growing up. Yet, somehow, my parents found the money to buy me an old used school student trumpet and I got just ONE year of trumpet lessons. That was it. I struggle at playing and practicing some of the specials Worship Director Scott Compton puts in front of us to play. I do my best but honestly feel there are plenty of people who can play better than me. Yet we don’t have hundreds of trumpet players. ‘Radical Living’ means taking what God has given to you and giving it back to him … singing, acting, teaching, playing, cleaning, serving, donating, and blessing others. Just give it if you can, and God will use it.”
What are a few actual examples of giving strategies your team can help people with that they may not have thought about?
Tyner: “I heard of one elder gentleman gifting an heirloom of value to Triad instead of his kids fighting over it when he passed away. Donating a larger appreciated item could give you a tax-favored income for life. You can give cars, trucks, vehicles, boats, stocks, and other items that you no longer use but pay insurance and taxes and tags on. We have had some folks give real estate like rental homes and business buildings to be sold and used for our ministries. Stocks that may have appreciated can be donated. After all, we’re not going to take any of it with us, are we?”
How to you respond to people who say we talk about money too much and that explaining how to take out a term insurance policy and gifting part of it to the church is crass and not our business?
Tyner: “First I would say any financial idea mentioned is only a suggested idea to get your mental juices flowing to help you think of ways that God is touching you. Each person and family is in a different season of life. Solomon in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 says that there is a time for all events in life: ‘a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to uproot.’ I would say that there are times we can give and times we just can’t. There are ways we can give and there are ways we can’t give. There are times we can give much more and times when giving is difficult. But not only that, certain kinds of giving are not for all of us.
“Or to say it another way: All of us are not in a position to maximize our giving exactly like someone else can. Some are given one talent, some five talents, and some 10. Ask God what you can do and He won’t let you down. To the specific term-insurance example, I don’t know anyone, myself included, who would suggest it as a regular routine recommendation. However, it could be a potential financial gifting strategic solution under the right circumstances.
“Say Mr. Smith comes to me and has no children or relatives. He is older and has just lost his wife. He is a church member and years ago created a financial income plan that will pay him enough money to support him for the rest of his life including paying for a $500,000 life insurance policy. He is looking for ways to financially benefit the church during the last chapter of his life. Would it be crass, if that was his desire, to see if he was open to removing his deceased wife as the primary beneficiary of this life policy, since her insurance need no longer existed, and changing the beneficiary to Triad Baptist Church?
“That is why is it so important to take time to learn and consider each person’s circumstance, and find out what is important to them, and the strategies that best fit them individually.”