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  • Writer's pictureMike Rice

Your Legacy Doesn’t Die When You Do

Steve was a 25-year-old man, full of potential, who grew up in Georgia. He loved cars, jewelry and having nice things; but those things didn’t control his life. He was known around town as “someone who would take the shirt off his back if you needed it.” His girlfriend, Sabrina, had two children from a previous relationship that he took in and treated as his own. He made sure their needs were always met. Sabrina soon gave birth to a son of their own and Steve felt as though he was on top of the world!

Traveling home one night from a relative’s house in late November, Steve and Sabrina’s car spun out of control as they approached a turn. They hydroplaned across the highway and struck an obstacle that caused the car to flip three times before slamming into a guardrail on the driver’s side. Sabrina was able to walk away from the accident with minor injuries and a concussion. Steve’s injuries were far more severe…he died in an Atlanta hospital 8 days later. Steve’s death left Sabrina with two older children, a 5-month old son, and no support.

Steve’s absence led Sabrina down a harsh road for which she was not prepared. To bring in money, she took on various jobs. She sold drugs and became a stripper. With three children to care for, she needed to do whatever it took to ensure they had a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food to eat. This is a true story; and Steve’s 5-month old son was DeAndre Hopkins, star wide receiver for the Houston Texans.

As sad as this story is, it follows a pattern that happens all too often with men who pass away and leave their family without financial support. Even dating back to the days of the bible, there is a story of a man passing away and leaving his wife with children to raise and care for alone:

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves. (The Holy Bible, 2 Kings 4:1 NIV)

Men work so hard to provide for their families while they are alive, but then lack consideration to how their family will be provided for when they are no longer here.

Husbands and fathers, we must take this very seriously, the responsibility of providing for our families. Not only when we are alive and well, but also when we are not. In the stories of Sabrina and the widow, these women lost the man in their lives, who cared for them and their children, and left them with a financial burden that they were not ready to carry. Our duty as providers and protectors of our family does not stop when we pass away. We need to ensure that there is financial security in place so that our family can live out our legacy.

There are many ways to ensure financial stability after death. One of the most common ways is through life insurance. While there may be several types of life insurance, they all pay out a death benefit to beneficiaries. This allows your loved ones to continue to pay bills, buy clothes and food, pay off debts, pay for college, etc. If these are the responsibilities that you take care of now, what happens when you’re not here? Having life insurance in place should be a major part of the plan for your family’s future.

The story of the widow in 2 Kings 4 and Sabrina, are true stories. My story is true as well as I’ve seen the effects of a husband/father passing away and not having life insurance in place for his family. In September 2019, my brother-in-law passed away leaving behind a wife and 4 children. He was a hard-working man who provided for his family until his last breath. It’s hard for any family to deal with the loss of a loved one, but they shouldn’t have to try to balance grief and debt at the same time.

Men, our responsibility to our family is a lifelong duty. But that responsibility isn’t just during our lifetime, but for the lifetimes of our wife, our children and even our grandchildren. As husbands and fathers, we are the foundation upon which our family is built. The things we do and the plans we set in place should allow our family to thrive for generations to come. Having a life insurance policy is a huge part of that plan. A colleague of mine once said “Life insurance is the only insurance that we are guaranteed to use.” That is a very bold, and true statement.

So, this is a call to action, men! We often profess that we love our families and would do anything for them. It is time to do “anything” for them right now. If you have a life insurance plan either through work or independently, great job. Review your policy with a licensed insurance agent annually. Make sure that you have enough coverage, update beneficiaries if you need to, add contingent beneficiaries, updated addresses, whatever needs to be done to ensure that your policy is up to date for your family’s needs. If you do not have a life insurance policy, meet with a life insurance agent immediately. Have a discussion with him/her about what your plans are for your family, how much you need, etc. I know that for some men these conversations are hard to have, but for the sake of your family, you must have this conversation. It is your responsibility.

Gentlemen, we have worked so hard to be amazing providers for our family; and they thank us for all that we have done. But our job isn’t over when we die. Our impact, love, responsibility, protection and provision should echo for generations. Life is incredibly short and one day each of us will take our last breath. Make sure that your wife, although grieving, can tell your kids what you provided for them and how she can still buy food and keep their home. Make sure that your kids will tell their spouses and children, “I’m going to take care of my family the same way my dad took care of me.”

We are the providers. We are the protectors! We are the foundation. We will all pass away, but our legacy never will! What are you waiting for?

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